With summer in full swing comes ever-increasing road repair and construction work. New Yorkís road construction season usually runs from April through October, though some projects can be year-round. Many of the officially designated Work Zones are small or very mobile, thus providing motorists with little or no advanced warning.
Last year, the state Legislature passed and the governor signed into law the Workforce Safety Act of 2005, which created stiffer penalties for motorists convicted of speeding in work zones. This law came in light of a tragic accident in Binghamton that killed three construction workers.
Though work zone accident fatalities are rare, there were a total of 467 traffic crashes that took place in the specially designated areas during 2004, as reported to the state Department of Transportation. Seven of the crashes resulted in fatalities. Existing penalties for motorists convicted of speeding in a work zone include a mandatory $50 surcharge, fines that double in cost, and a 60-day driver license suspension for motorists convicted of more than one speeding violation in the designated roadway. Police enforcement of posted work zone areas is also increased while road repairs are being made.
Motorists should be especially alert for maintenance activities when traveling through work zones. Maintenance activities include filling potholes, repairing guardrails, sign repairs and picking up litter. Motorists should be aware the majority of major construction projects take place at night. Drivers should be mindful to do the following when navigating work zones:
- Reduce speed and obey all posted speed limits since posted work zone signs are in effect even when the site is inactive
- Follow instructions given by construction workers who direct traffic using flags
- Be alert for lane shifts and closures
- Do not tailgate other motorists or follow construction vehicles
- Pay attention to all orange road signs and electronic variable signs that may indicate a work zone ahead
As always, for questions, comments or concerns on this or any other matter, donít hesitate to contact my office at (585) 225-4190. You can also mail my office at 2300 West Ridge Road, Rochester, N.Y. 14626, or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.