One of the most dangerous jobs in New York is being a road construction crew member. Working a few feet from busy highways with little more than traffic cones and concrete barriers to protect them, getting hit by a passing vehicle is a huge danger. According to state officials, there were 3,450 car accidents in New York construction zones between 2010 and 2016. More than 1,100 workers and drivers suffered injuries, and 50 people were killed.
The good news is, the state government is trying something new to improve safety in work zones. Gov. Kathy Hochul recently signed a bill that launched a pilot program installing speed cameras near road construction sites.
Could speeder-detecting cameras help?
You have probably seen speed cameras before. They detect when a passing vehicle is speeding and record data about the vehicle. A ticket is then sent to the owner. New York law already reduces the posted speed limit in construction zones by up to 20 mph. This project will test whether stronger enforcement will convince drivers to take the speed limit in work zones more seriously.
This pilot follows a successful effort in Maryland, where speed cameras at road construction sites caused a 10 percent drop in driver speeds and a 45 percent drop in deaths in work zone crashes.
Drivers have a duty to slow down
Drivers who neglect to slow down and be extra careful when passing road construction put the workers there at unnecessary risk of harm. Along with workers’ compensation, workers who get hurt in a car accident while on the job may be able to pursue compensation from the negligent driver and their insurance.