Chili — On August 13, The New York State Police and the Department of Transportation announced the start of “Operation Hardhat,” a joint effort to crack down on work zone violations and highlight the importance of safe driving through active construction and maintenance work zones on state and local highways.

Members of the New York State Police are patrolling several active work zones throughout the State Department of Transportation’s Rochester and Hornell regions to ticket motorists who disobey flagging personnel, speed through a work zone or violate the state’s Move Over Law, which applies to emergency and work vehicles.

In a prepared statement, the NYS Police said, “Law enforcement and other emergency responders, including CSEA and PEF highway workers, work in a dangerous environment and risk their lives to keep the traveling public safe. It is important that motorists are aware of their responsibility to follow the rules of the road and know that violations of the Move Over Law and work zone intrusions will not be tolerated.”

Andy Hahn, a CSEA represented Highway Maintenance Supervisor who has logged 20 years on the job, says raising awareness about improving the safety at highway work zones is timely and necessary. Hahn calls the day to day highway work “tense” and says, “you must maintain a hyper-awareness about what is going on around you.”

Chuck Parsons

CSEA member Chuck Parsons, who has worked for NYSDOT for more than 36 years, says CSEA members are being proactive when it comes to workplace safety. He explained workers spend time in the classroom discussing how to improve safety at work zones and often participate in “train the trainer” exercises as well.

Parsons said, “It is critical that motorists pay attention behind the wheel and eliminate distractions, especially on interstates and other multi-lane highways. Educating the public is key to making sure our members go home unscathed tonight. Keeping everyone safe in a work zone is truly everyone’s business.”

New York’s Move Over Law requires motorists to carefully slow down and safely move over when approaching law enforcement vehicles, fire trucks, ambulances, tow trucks, and construction and maintenance vehicles stopped along the roads.

Motorists should be reminded that fines are doubled for speeding in a work zone, and in accordance with the Work Zone Safety Act of 2005, convictions of two or more speeding violations in a work zone could result in the suspension of an individual’s driver license.

-Ove Overmyer

 

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Ove Overmyer

Ove Overmyer is an award winning photojournalist and writer who has promoted the virtue of working people and the value of public service throughout his career. His work has been published by many well-respected international media outlets, including PBS Moyers & Co., Steward Update UCS Worker Institute Cornell ILR, CBS News, The Weather Channel, SCI-FY Channel, Associated Press and LOGO-TV. Before joining the CSEA Communications Department staff in 2015, Overmyer was a CSEA member employed by the City of Rochester and an officer of the union for more than 18 years. He covers a 14 county area of Western New York and lives in Rochester, NY.

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