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For Immediate Release: 08/30/19 

Contact: Office of Media Relations and Communications | (518) 471-5300 | public.info@thruway.ny.gov 

THRUWAY AUTHORITY ANNOUNCES RELEASE OF WORK ZONE SAFETY PSA FEATURING WIDOW OF THRUWAY EMPLOYEE KILLED ON DUTY IN 2016
Work Zone Safety Campaign Also Includes New York State Thruway Employees Involved in Recent Work Zone Crashes
PSA to be Broadcast on TV Stations Statewide and on Social Media

The New York State Thruway Authority today announced the launch of a new Work Zone Safety Campaign which includes a newly released Public Safety Announcement (PSA) featuring Sally Deming, the widow of Ron Deming. Deming, of Little Falls, was tragically killed while working on the New York State Thruway in October 2016. The PSA also features Thruway Authority Maintenance employees who were involved in recent work zone incidents.

The release of the PSA coincides with the new exhibit at the Great New York State Fair featuring equipment damaged in work zone incidents on New York state highways.

“Each day, Maintenance Workers put themselves in harm’s way to ensure roads are safe for all drivers,” said Thruway Authority Executive Director Matthew J. Driscoll. “This powerful PSA highlights the dangers our crews encounter while working on the highway and the devastating effects of failing to move over for emergency and hazard vehicles.”

The new video highlights the dangers faced by New York's emergency responders and emphasizes the importance of the Move Over law, which requires motorists to drive with care, slow down, and if safe to do so, move over when approaching law enforcement vehicles, firetrucks, ambulances, tow trucks, construction and maintenance vehicles that are stopped along roads across the state. The law was enacted in 2011 to protect New Yorkers working along the roadway and has since been expanded to include a wider range of emergency and hazard vehicles.

On October 28, 2016, Thruway Maintenance employee Ron Deming was struck by a vehicle and fatally injured while assisting in the recovery of a passenger car along the shoulder of Interstate 90. Nearly three years later, Ron’s wife, Sally Deming, continues to be outspoken about the importance of the Move Over law and the impacts work zone incidents can have on workers’ families.

Sally Deming said, “The last memory I have of my husband is him giving me a kiss and his back as he went to work for the last time. I do not want Ron to become just a statistic and I ask everyone to please obey work zone speed limits. Slow down and move over for roadside workers. They have families too.”

The 30-second video also features a crew from the Thruway’s Berkshire Maintenance Section who was involved in a work zone crash on March 26, 2019. Four members of the crew were injured when a tractor trailer entered their work zone and struck two Thruway vehicles while employees were performing road repairs. The driver of the truck was ticketed for violating the Move Over law and several other vehicle and traffic law violations.

In the months following that crash, several New York State Troopers from Troop T were injured in separate crashes involving drivers who failed to move over. Additionally, on July 17, 2019, two Thruway Maintenance Workers from the Westfield Maintenance Section narrowly escaped serious injury or worse when their pickup truck was struck from behind by a tractor trailer on I-90 in Western New York. Luckily, the two employees were outside of their vehicle at the time performing routine right-of-way cleanup.

In 2018, there were 701 crashes in work zones on state roads and bridges, resulting in 13 motorist fatalities and 329 injuries to motorists, contractor employees, Thruway Authority and NYSDOT staff.

In New York State, fines are doubled for speeding in a work zone. In accordance with the Work Zone Safety Act of 2005, convictions of two or more speeding violations in a work zone could result in the suspension of an individual’s driver license.

The new video will be broadcast beginning this week on local television stations across the state and featured on the Thruway Authority’s social media channels.

The PSA was funded by a grant through the New York State Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee and the New York State Broadcasters Association.

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