Stiffer work zone penalties approved in New York

| Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Speeding through a roadside work zone in New York state could cost drivers a lot more money starting in January.

Gov. George Pataki signed a bill last week intended to help keep construction workers safe.

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.

With the new law, drivers convicted of two or more speeding violations in a work zone would have their licenses suspended for 60 days.

And, speeding tickets in work zones will come with a $50 surcharge. The money will be used for a public education campaign about the dangers of exceeding the speed limit in work zones.

The legislation also requires a police presence in major work zones.

In addition to the new law, 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.

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