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As the spring weather has gotten warmer, road work has commenced on many New York highways. “Operation Work Brake” began on Monday, April 25 and as a result, New York State Police will have an increased presence on the New York State Thruway in order to protect workers in construction zones. According the Thruway Authority, construction zones require drivers to pay extra attention as the road conditions often change. Workers are present, speed limits are lower and lanes can become narrower, shift or close.

The initiative came about after the Work Zone Safety Act of 2005 was enacted. The Act doubled fines for speeding in a work zone and increased the penalties for multiple work zone speeding violations to include the possibility of license suspension.

Troopers will be making themselves visible and positioning themselves in strategic areas in order to ensure the safety of construction workers. Thruway drivers should expect the restricted driving rules for construction zones to be strictly enforced. This means that Troopers will be on the lookout not only for speeders, but for drivers engaging in any behavior that potentially puts construction workers at risk. This can include changing lanes illegally, driving aggressively, texting and other forms of distracted driving.

In 2015, New York State Police issued 1,000 tickets to drivers traveling through work zones according to the Albany Times Union. As a result, there were no fatalities of construction workers in New York last year. However, across the nation 576 people were killed in 514 separate work zone crashes in 2010. As long as those statistics remain high, this will likely continue to be an area of focus for law enforcement.

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