The New York Legislature
recently wrapped up its work for the year, but not before approving a bill
intended to help keep highway construction workers safe. The measure now heads
to Gov. George Pataki for his signature.
The effort to crack down on
traffic accidents in highway work zones follows the recent death of three
construction workers. The workers were killed in May in a chain-reaction crash
at a work site on Interstate 81 outside Binghamton, The Associated Press reported. Police believe speeding played a role.
Under the bill, drivers
convicted of two or more speeding violations in work zones would have their
licenses suspended for 60 days.
Sponsored by Sen. Thomas Libous,
R-Binghamton, S4885 also would require a police presence in major work zones
and create a public education program. The program would be paid for with the
help of a $50 surcharge on all speeding violations in work zones.
In addition to the legislative
effort, the New York Transportation Department is putting safety messages such
as “Slow Down, My Mommy Works Here” on 103 state trucks, The AP reported.
There were 467 accidents in
the state’s work zones in 2004, the news agency reported. One road worker and
six drivers died.
Nationwide, the number of
people killed in work zone crashes increased from 868 in 1999 to 1,028 in 2003,
according to the Federal Highway Administration.