Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has announced the start of “Operation Hardhat,” a statewide traffic enforcement detail targeting motorists who drive recklessly through work zones in New York.

The operation is a joint initiative between the New York State Police, Department of Transportation and Thruway Authority.

“New York’s highway workers and first responders put their personal safety on the line every day to help ensure our roads and bridges remain safe and in good repair,” said Governor Cuomo. “As New Yorkers, we have a responsibility to keep these essential workers out of harm’s way – and that means slowing down, moving over and using common sense. We have zero tolerance for those who drives recklessly and endanger the lives of others.”

State Troopers will patrol active highway work zones throughout the summer at locations along the Adirondack Northway, the Thruway and other highways where maintenance and construction activities are underway. Unannounced enforcement efforts will also take place over coming months.

Troopers will be present within the work zones, dressed as highway maintenance workers, to identify motorists who disobey flagging personnel, speed through the work zone or violate the state’s Move Over Law, which applies to both emergency and maintenance vehicles.

“Safety is always the top priority of the New York State Department of Transportation and a big part of that is protecting the health and well-being of the dedicated men and women who work to keep our highways and bridges safe,” said State Department of Transportation Commissioner Marie Therese Dominguez. “Operation Hardhat is an effective way to raise awareness about dangers our highway workers face each day they are on the job and the need for motorists to eliminate distractions and reduce speeds in work zones. We appreciate the partnership of the New York State Police in keeping our workers and the traveling public safe.”

During last year’s “Operation Hardhat” enforcement, 1,048 tickets were issued across the state, including 493 speed violations, 92 cell phone violations, 94 seat belt and two child restraint violations, 72 move over violations, eight failures to obey a traffic control device, two failures to obey a flagger, two DWI and 283 other violations.