Troopers in Illinois have decided to dress up as construction workers and place themselves in busy work zones in an effort to issue tickets to speeding drivers.
But they say it isn’t about money.
The Illinois Department of Public Safety decided on its plan to dress up as construction workers during Work-Zone Safety Week, which took place in April 2019, in an effort to educate people about safety and driving in busy construction areas, according to Illinois trooper Ron Sailer.
The campaign has been dubbed “Operation HardHat” and will extend beyond Work-Zone Safety Week.
While some say it’s a devious plan to generate revenue, the department insists it’s all about safety.
Sanj Mohip disagreed with that assertion on Twitter.
“It’s not about writing tickets. It’s not about pulling people over. It’s about keeping people safe,” Illinois trooper Jason Wilson told WQAD.
Wilson said that so far in 2019, 19 troopers’ cars have been hit, and 12 of those cars were pulled over on the side of the road, which is why he says troopers will be on the look out for distracted drivers, speeders and other violations in construction zones as part of “Operation HardHat.”
“Reminding drivers the human element that they are actually driving through,” Wilson said.
“This is a work zone. Imagine if you were at your office and somebody drove through at 80 miles an hour.”
Until recently, patrols in work zones have been conducted in marked vehicles.
“Our hope is the plain-clothes Trooper doesn’t observe any violations. That would mean drivers were operating their vehicles safely,” Commander Captain Jason Dickey said.
“Sadly, that will probably not be the case.”
A first-offense speeding ticket in a construction zone carries a penalty of a $375 fine.
A second offense could carry a $1,000 fine and a 90-day driver’s license suspension, according to Blatti Law.