Working to improve safety on New York roads target of legislation

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | 1/28/2013

Two safety bills up for consideration at the New York statehouse cover heavily congested work zones and emergency personnel along roadsides.

The first bill would require a State Police presence at certain work zones.

New York law now provides some limited police presence in work zones.

Sponsored by Sen. Tim Kennedy, D-Buffalo, S379 would mandate that a State Police officer and vehicle must be present at certain work zones.

The bill is intended to increase safety in areas with daily traffic that exceeds 5,000 vehicles and has a regularly posted speed of at least 45 mph.

Kennedy explains in a memo attached to the bill that the change would help save lives and keep people safe by “adding an additional precaution to get people to slow down and be more aware as they enter work zones.”

He cites a study that found a police vehicle with lights flashing and active radar was successful in reducing speeds by about 8 mph in one lane closures, and about 6 mph in two lane closures.

Kennedy also insists that a law enforcement vehicle stationed at the beginning of affected work zones would be a more effective way of protecting highway workers.
Another bill is also intended to protect people working near the road. Sen. John DeFrancisco, R-Syracuse, introduced a bill to revise the state’s “Move Over” law to include more emergency personnel.

Since Jan. 1, 2011, New York requires drivers traveling on multilane roadways to move away from the lane closest to any emergency vehicle on the side of the road with red and/or while flashing lights. Drivers are also required to slow down.

S2318 would expand the coverage to include all flashing emergency lights. In particular, the rule would apply to red, blue, white and/or amber lights.

Both bills await consideration in the Senate Transportation Committee.

To view other legislative activities of interest for New York, click here.

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