Troopers, AAA remind drivers to ‘move over’ as Operation Hardhat crackdown in full swing

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With the arrival of warm weather, road crews will be out in full force in the coming weeks and months to repair and renovate roads and highways.

The New York State Police and AAA want to remind drivers to give these road crews the room and attention they need to do their jobs.

According to AAA, this season will be especially tough for road crews because of two major factors: bad driving habits developed during the pandemic, and a major influx of government infrastructure money, leading to more workers out on the roads.

First responders, construction workers, tow truck operators and others who work at the roadside everyday are especially vulnerable to drivers who are distracted, impaired or drowsy, according to the announcement by the AAA officials.

With April also being Distracted Driving Awareness Month, AAA encourages motorists to ditch distractions behind the wheel and just drive.

AAA officials said there were 774 fatal crashes in work zones in 2020 across the country — an increase of 1.4% from 2019 — which resulted in 857 deaths.

AAA work zone tips:

• Plan ahead. Check for planned work zone delays and traffic advisories and allow extra travel time prior to departing for your trip.

• Reduce speed. For the safety of all drivers and construction workers, normal posted speed limits are often reduced in work zones.

In New York, fines for all moving violations, including speeding are doubled in work zones, even if workers are not
present.

• Remain alert: Minimize distractions and obey the directions of any police officer, firefighter, or road crew flagger, and follow all posted work zone advisories and signage.

Temporary work zone signs are orange and commonly diamond shaped.

Construction zones may contain unusual vehicles or machinery that can divert a driver’s attention as well as traffic cones, barrels, flashing lights and concrete barriers.

On April 13, local state police held a work zone crackdown on Route 12 in Utica and issued 56 tickets — 24 for speeding, three for using a cell phone, 14 for not wearing a seat belt and 15 others, troopers said.

This was part of the annual Operation Hardhat, which cracks down on dangerous and reckless driving behavior in work zones.

The operation will last through the summer, the officials added.

In 2021, troopers said a total of 2,336 tickets were issued during Operation Hardhat throughout the state.

State police ask that motorists follow the postage signage and put down any distractions.

Move over a lane when it’s safe and/or slow down when encountering vehicles displaying red, white, blue, amber, or green lights.

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