Announces Suspension of Road and Bridge Construction During Holiday Weekend
Traffic Volumes Expected to Be High
Construction-Related Lane Closures Limited to Ease Travel
Motorists Urged to Slow Down and Move Over for Roadside Emergency and Maintenance Vehicles
New York's Seatbelt Compliance Rate Remains High
Governor Kathy Hochul today reminded motorists to buckle up and drive safely as they hit the road to enjoy the long holiday weekend, and to ensure children are properly restrained in vehicles. According to AAA, traffic volumes nationally have rebounded from 2020 and are expected to remain high through Labor Day.
The Governor also announced that temporary lane closures for road and bridge construction projects on New York State highways will be suspended from 6 a.m. on Friday, September 3 to 6 a.m. on Tuesday, September 7, to ease travel throughout the Labor Day holiday weekend. Motorists should be aware that some work may continue behind permanent concrete barriers or for emergency repairs. The construction suspension aligns with New York State's Drivers First initiative, which prioritizes the convenience of motorists to minimize traffic congestion and travel delays due to road and bridge work.
"Many families are embarking on road trips for the end of the summer season, so traffic on our roadways will be heavier than usual," Governor Hochul said. "Motorists should plan ahead and take all necessary steps to ensure they and their passengers will be as safe as possible. We want everyone to have a safe and happy Labor Day weekend with happy memories and not have anyone's holiday marred by a needless tragedy. Please obey all traffic safety practices and laws, move over for maintenance and emergency vehicles, put down your phones, and drive sober."
The Governor reminds motorists to follow the state's Move Over Law, which requires motorists to slow down and safely move over for law enforcement vehicles, fire trucks, ambulances, tow trucks and construction or maintenance vehicles that are stopped along roads across the state.
Text stops, including park-and-ride facilities, rest stops, service areas and parking areas along state highways support the state's efforts to reduce distracted driving. All text stops will remain open, providing a location where drivers can safely and conveniently use their phones and other mobile devices for calling, texting, navigating and accessing mobile apps. Texting while driving is especially dangerous, as it requires motorists to take their eyes off the road, hands off the wheel and mind off driving.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, wearing a seat belt in the front seat of a passenger car can reduce the risk of death by 45 percent and reduce the risk of serious injury by 50 percent. Based on NHTSA data, the national seat belt use rate is 90 percent. In New York, the seatbelt compliance rate has remained above 90 percent for the past decade.
Governor Hochul urged motorists to ensure that children traveling in their vehicles are restrained properly. As part of the GTSC's Child Passenger Safety Program, state and local police agencies, along with various community safety partners, offer free child car seat inspections by certified child passenger safety technicians year-round. GTSC maintains a list of child safety seat events on its website. As of November 1, 2020, everyone in passenger vehicles, regardless of where they sit, needs to wear a seat belt or be properly restrained in a child safety seat.
New York State Department of Motor Vehicles Commissioner and Chair of the Governor's Traffic Safety Committee of New York Mark J.F. Schroeder said, "As we take to the roads for one last summer adventure, I urge motorists to drive safely during this heavy travel weekend. Avoid distractions, move over for emergency vehicles, do not speed and never drive impaired. One of the most important things drivers and passengers can do is to buckle up, as studies have shown that seat belts, when used properly, are the single most effective way to protect oneself in a motor vehicle crash. I am pleased that that the vast majority of New Yorkers continue to buckle up."
State Department of Transportation Commissioner Marie Therese Dominguez said, "New York State's Drivers First initiative helps New Yorkers reach their holiday destinations with the least amount of disruption possible. While you are traveling our roadways please remember to do so safely, don't text and drive, don't drink and drive, wear your seatbelt and stay alert. Please obey work zone signs and move over for roadway workers and emergency vehicles, our DOT family deserves to get home safely to enjoy their families too."
New York State Thruway Authority Executive Director Matthew J. Driscoll said, "Motorists traveling this Labor Day weekend will have fewer delays and will be able to get to their destinations faster, with the suspension of construction related lane closures. We want to remind drivers that due to the service area redevelopment project, 10 service areas are closed along the Thruway for renovations, so please plan your stops accordingly. Fuel services remain open at all locations, and no two consecutive service areas are closed in the same direction of travel. We hope all New Yorkers have a safe and happy Labor Day."
State Police Superintendent Kevin P. Bruen said, "While the suspension of roadwork for the holiday weekend should help ease traffic delays, drivers are reminded that they need to do their part to ensure everyone gets to their destination safely. Please obey posted speed limits, put away smart phones, buckle up, and stay focused and alert. State Troopers will be highly visible throughout the weekend and as always will have zero tolerance for anyone who drives recklessly."
The Governor also stressed the importance of planning ahead before travel and being prepared in the event of a crash, breakdown or other emergency. Before leaving, take care of routine maintenance such as tune-ups, oil changes, battery checks, and tire rotations, and make sure you have emergency supplies, including a first aid kit, flashlight and jumper cables. It is a good idea to plan your route ahead of time, checking weather, road conditions and traffic, and to let others know your route and anticipated arrival time.
Vehicle owners should also check before traveling to see if their vehicle has been recalled and needs to be repaired. NHTSA's VIN lookup tool lets you enter a Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) to quickly learn if a specific vehicle has not been repaired as part of a safety recall in the last 15 years. You can also sign up to receive email recall alerts.
The Department of Motor Vehicles urges drivers to use the Have a Plan app to help find a safe way home from a celebration where they may be drinking. The free app from the Governor's Traffic Safety Committee and the NYS STOP-DWI Foundation allows users to designate a driver, call a cab or ride share, and to review the consequences of impaired driving. Users can even use the app to report a drunk or drugged driver. The app is available for Apple, Android, and Windows smart phones.
Travelers can check NYSDOT's 511NY before traveling, by calling 5-1-1, visiting the 511 website, or downloading the free 511NY mobile app on iTunes or Google Play. The free service allows users to check road conditions, view 2219 traffic cameras and link to air and transit information. The app features Drive mode, which provides audible alerts along a chosen route while a user is driving, warning them about incidents and construction.
The Thruway Authority encourages motorists to download its mobile app which is available to download for free on iPhone and Android devices. The app provides motorists direct access to real-time traffic and navigation assistance while on the go. Motorists can also sign up for TRANSalert e-mails, which provide the latest traffic conditions along the Thruway.