Updated: July 07, 2020 07:31 PM
Created: July 07, 2020 05:38 PM
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — The New York State Department of Transportation is teaming up with the Monroe County Sheriff's Office to help make road work zones even safer.
News10NBC takes a look at "Operation Hardhat," to find out what role deputies will have within these traffic work zones.
The next time you drive through a work zone similar to one currently found on West Henrietta Road, you better be extra careful.
State DOT Spokesperson Jordan Guerrein says deputies will be working undercover at several traffic work sites around the county. It’s part of an initiative that started this week.
"They're looking out for drivers who are either distracted, or on their cell phones, and they're radioing into their colleagues nearby to let them know the people need to be pulled over," Guerrein said.
Unlike in typical work zones with a police presence deputies will be in plainclothes, wearing a vest, and hardhat just like the highway maintenance workers. Guerrein says last year there were almost 200 work zone infractions across the state. This year alone there are nine in Monroe County.
"Just yesterday we saw a trooper down in the southern tier was hit by another vehicle," Guerrein said. "So you know it’s a problem that, it's not just here in Monroe County that's the issue, but the DOT, we're taking it seriously here in Monroe County, and across the state."
MCSO Sgt. Matthew Bottone says a traffic violation within a work zone could be very costly.
"Normally with a work zone violation, you're fined and your points can also be doubled. In New York State if you get 11-points on your driver's license within 18 months you will lose your driver's license," Bottone said.
The DOT and deputies say the goal of this initiative is to educate the public.
"When we're out here working whether you have a red or blue light car stopped on the side of the road, or a yellow light you need to slow down, you need to move over. You need to pay attention to what's going on around you," Guerrein said.
According to Guerrein, more than 1,000 work zone infraction tickets were issued across the state. DOT will also partner with state police for statewide enforcement later this summer.
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