In conjunction with the arrival of the busy spring and summer construction seasons, New York City DOT is participating in National Work Zone Awareness Week from April 23-27. The agency will place safety ribbon magnets on DOT vehicles, and run ads to increase awareness of work zone safety in New York City and Albany. The goal of this awareness campaign is to warn drivers of the dangers construction zone workers face from passing vehicles. In addition to increasing awareness, DOT and state legislators are working to increase penalties for drivers who are convicted of killing or injuring workers in New York construction accidents. Nationwide, over 32,000 people are injured in work zone crashes every year, with about 600 fatalities resulting from those crashes. The New York State Work Zone Safety Bill would enhance worker safety by defining new crimes for motorists who put construction workers at risk for injury. The new crime of intrusion into an active work zone would be categorized as a class B misdemeanor, subject to fines and/or imprisonment. Additionally, the new crimes of vehicular manslaughter in an active work zone and vehicular assault in an active work zone would be classified as felonies. Motorists driving through construction zones can take a number of steps to avoid accidents. These include driving within the posted speed limit, refraining from distractions, and watching out for both construction workers and their equipment. Drivers should also pay attention to merge signs, and merge well before a lane closure.
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