ONONDAGA COUNTY, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — The construction workers you see on the side of our highways could very well be New York State Troopers.
“These guys are out here every day. I’m only out here like this sporadically. Where they’re out here continuously and you know, they want to get home at the end of each day also,” said Sgt. Matthew Navin of the New York State Police.
It’s all part of Operation Hard Hat, hoping to save the lives of those working to make our commute smoother.
Troopers are setting up in active construction zones along state highways dressed as construction workers using their lasers to track the speed of cars moving through the work zones. But they’re also looking for those violating other traffic laws, like distracted driving.
“If I see someone’s going by me and they’re on their cellphones, I’ll call that out, or if I can see that they’re not wearing their seatbelt, I’ll call that out, also,” Navin said.
While Navin is keeping watch here, other troopers are about a mile back, ready to pull people over once they get the signal. Though drivers can’t see Navin, he sees them not paying attention every time he’s out on patrol.
Navin said, “We get calls throughout the troop on people who are disobeying the flagmen. You know, they’re in a hurry to get someplace and they go right past them when he’s holding up the stop paddle.”
All actions that have killed more than 55 New York State DOT workers to date, which is why the DOT and State Police are stepping in.
“So our suggestion to everybody is, get off the phone, slow down in work zones. And be mindful fo those folks that are working in work zones. They’re your neighbors, let’s be mindful,” said Sean Hennessey, Assistant Commissioner of Operations for the New York State DOT.
“We don’t want them getting hurt. They’re the ones out there putting their lives on the line protected by a handful of cones and barrels,” Navin said.
And as long as this operation continues, you just may find a trooper behind those cones, too.
Troopers have issued hundreds of tickets during this operation. On Tuesday, 43 traffic tickets were issued, which included seat belt and speeding violations, and there was one DWI arrest.