ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – State police and the Thruway Authority are continuing their efforts to improve safety along one of the busiest highways in New York State.
As the weather warms up that means we’re getting into the start of road work season. On Wednesday morning crews will be announcing their annual safety initiative called “Operation Work Brake,” meant to get drivers to slow down in construction zones.
Thruway maintenance crews and contractors working on highways already face a number of hazards, so knowing you’re keeping an eye out for them is one less thing to worry about.
State police will soon start cracking down on speeding, aggressive or distracted drivers in those areas. So when you see those neon orange or digital signage – take it slow, maneuver cautiously and put the phone down
In years past troopers have issued up to 1,500 tickets in a single week of enforcement.
“When a big truck comes by you kind of do one of these, ok, the wind pushes you,” said Maria Lehman.
Maria Lehman with the State Thruway Authority knows what it’s like to work in these dangerous conditions – where one careless move can kill.
“They’re mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, sons and daughters and they deserve to go home to their families at night,” she said.
Fortunately there were no work zone fatalities on the thruway last year, but state troopers handed out 1,000 tickets for people speeding or driving recklessly in work zones.
“People just treat it like it’s any other section of the roadway, traffic cones, construction workers are out there, they’re not slowing down,” said Major Joseph Dodd, Commander of State Police Troop T.
This week there will be increased patrols monitoring work zones for “Operation Work Brake” to send a message early on in the construction season, that drivers can’t be complacent.
“Pay attention to your speed limits, do not text and drive do not use any kind of electronic devices while you drive,” said Major Dodd.
Sometimes drivers see this as a hassle when really it’s an office – with people just trying to do their job.
‘These are difficult jobs and difficult conditions and so we really implore the public to slow down. It’s someone’s life you’re going to save,” Dodd continued.
There will be stepped up patrols all week targeting construction spots and as always if you’re caught speeding in a work zone, those fines are doubled.