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New law would increase punishment for work-zone accidents

New York construction workers often find themselves in vulnerable positions. Not only are they often in harm's way when working on tall buildings, but road construction workers are often injured during the course of their duties, sometimes necessitating workers' compensation claims.

Many drivers in construction zones fail to slow down to an appropriate speed when they are driving, even at the risk of increased fines. In New York City, seven workers have been killed in work zone-related accidents in the last two decades. In addition, since 2009, more than 20 city transportation workers have been injured in work zone incidents.

While increased fines might not be as big a deterrent as officials had hoped, a new state bill might act as another deterrent. Under the legislation, which has passed the state Senate and is now being considered in the state Assembly, the penalties against someone who is convicted of injuring or killing a construction worker in a work zone would face increased penalties -- similar to state laws already in place for people who injure or kill police officers.

One method that is gaining some traction as a way to keep better tabs on workers is by installing cameras at work zone sites. The thought is that people will be less inclined to drive dangerously if they know their driving is being recorded.

The bill is a step in the right direction, but no single piece of legislation can completely ensure the safety of construction workers. Those workers who are injured on the job can consult with attorneys who specialize in workers' compensation issues.

Source: Brooklyn Daily Eagle, "Senate passes Savino's bill to punish drivers who kill construction workers," Paula Katinas, May 6, 2014

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