Senate Passes Work Zone Safety Legislation

James L. Seward

June 24, 2005

The New York State Senate today passed legislation (S.4885-B), sponsored by Senator Thomas Libous (R-C, Binghamton), chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee, designed to enhance driver education, increase the accountability of drivers and create a more sensible work zone in which to travel. The legislation was passed as part of a three-way agreement between the senate, the governor, and the assembly
"We must protect our families and workers from the potentially deadly consequences of reckless drivers or tragic accidents," said Senator Libous. "This legislation is a team effort, and it’ll make our highway work zones safer."

"Our highway and road workers have a difficult enough job already, and they do not need to be worrying about getting seriously or fatally injured due to the negligence of dangerous drivers," said Senator James L. Seward. "The legislation provides appropriate measures that will protect and enhance the safety of workers and punish those who recklessly flout the rules of the road."

Known as the Work Zone Safety Act of 2005, this legislation is a key step toward increasing motorist and worker safety in highway work zones. The bill:

· Calls for a 60-day license suspension when an individual is convicted of two or more speeding violations in a work zone;
· Mandates the presence of police and radar speed display devices in major work zones;
· Creates a public education program funded by a $50 surcharge on all speeding violations in work zones; and
· Requires the Department of Transportation to discuss the safety and design of work zones before construction begins with laborers and contractors.

The legislation comes in response to a number of worker-related accidents that have occurred in work zones in recent years. On May 20, 2005 a tour bus carrying a Bible college choir sped through a work-zone on Interstate 81 in Chenango Bridge and caused a chain reaction accident that killed two construction workers. A third person who was involved in the accident died a day later.

The bill was sent to the Assembly.