‘Operation Hardhat’ cracks down on reckless driving in work zones

Updated: Apr. 29, 2021 at 1:58 PM EDT
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WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - Working along a roadway is a dangerous task for Department of Transportation crews. To help ensure their safety, they’ve teamed up with state police for Operation Hardhat.

The DOT is busy this time of year making repairs along our roadways.

On Interstate 81, workers are repairing guardrails, but not everyone on scene is minding the road. Drivers have been spotted on cell phones or speeding.

Trooper Alan Heath swapped his uniform for a yellow vest for Operation Hardhat.

“We’re paired up with the DOT for work zone enforcement. We’re trying to target distracted or speeding operators within the work zone,” he said.

When he spots a driver breaking the law, he can alert patrol cars stationed ahead.

The vehicles on I-81 are moving fast, about 70-75 miles per hour. When they come by, you can feel it. But state police and DOT workers say it’s is what they deal with every day.

“Our folks are putting their lives on the line every day. They’ve got families too. They want to go home at the end of the day to those families. So we’re encouraging the traveling public to be safe in work zones. Slow down. Put down that device. It can wait,” said Todd Westhuis, chief of staff, New York State DOT.

Work Zone Awareness week may only be seven days of the year, but drivers should always be mindful of workers they share the road with.

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