Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced a week-long effort by New York State’s transportation and emergency response agencies to promote and support National Work Zone Awareness Week April 8-12. Throughout the week, staff from the Thruway Authority and State Police will visit the Thruway’s 27 service areas as well as three Welcome Centers to interact with motorists and hand out educational materials regarding work zone safety and the Move Over law. At particular locations, Thruway crews will display equipment recently damaged in work zone incidents to demonstrate the dangers roadside workers face.
“In the wake of several recent tragedies on our roadways involving transportation workers and law enforcement, it is more crucial than ever that we educate motorists on the importance of obeying traffic safety laws at all times,” Governor Cuomo said. “New York has zero tolerance for any driver who puts the lives of our dedicated workforce at risk, and as we support National Work Zone Awareness Week, we will make it clear that anyone who disregards these laws will be held accountable.”
As construction season begins, more maintenance and work crews will be out on the road performing repairs and improvements to ensure roads are safe for motorists. All travelers should be prepared to reduce speeds and to be alert when passing through work zones. Since 2000, National Work Zone Awareness Week has been recognized by the Federal Highway Administration. This year’s theme is “Drive Like You Work Here.”
Recognizing and understanding signs leading up to and within a work zone is essential for the safety of all drivers and roadside workers. Motorists are 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. More work zone safety tips can be found at thruway.ny.gov.
Maintenance crews across the state work alongside fast-moving traffic each day, knowing their lives depend on drivers being alert, patient and cautious. It is critically important that motorists eliminate distractions, pay attention to driving and move over for workers.
The importance of work zone awareness hit home here in our region when on March 13, DOT maintenance worker Matt Howe was parked on the shoulder of Route 17 with his lights flashing, alerting motorists to a road repair crew just down the road. A tractor trailer driver who failed to move over struck Matt’s truck, fatally wounding him. He left behind numerous family members and friends.