Disguised police officers will be monitoring New York highways, looking to issue tickets.

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On Tuesday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the start of "Operation Hardhat," a statewide traffic enforcement detail targeting motorists who drive recklessly through work zones. The operation is a joint initiative between the New York State Police, Department of Transportation and Thruway Authority, to crack down on work zone violations and highlight the importance of safe driving when encountering construction, maintenance and emergency operations along state highways.

"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," Cuomo said. "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 across the state, including I-87 and I-84 in the Hudson Valley, where maintenance and construction activities are underway.

Additionally, DOT, Thruway and State Police plan to partner on additional unannounced enforcement efforts in construction zones in the coming months, officials say.

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. DOT, Thruway and the State Police are also planning a statewide enforcement and education campaign later this summer in an effort to continue promoting driver awareness and the need to follow New York's Move Over Law, officials say.

Motorists are reminded to move over a lane, if safely possible, or slow down significantly whenever encountering roadside vehicles displaying red, white, blue, amber or green lights, including maintenance and construction vehicles in work zones.

Drivers are urged to slow down and drive responsibly in work zones. Fines are doubled for speeding in a work zone. Convictions of two or more speeding violations in a work zone could result in the suspension of a driver's license.

During last year's "Operation Hardhat" enforcement, there were 1,048 tickets issued across the state, including 493-speed violations, 92 cell phone violations, 94 seatbelt 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, according to the governor's office.

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