Operation Hardhat

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Florida Highway Patrol

Summary Statement

Describes a program in Florida to reduce accidents in workzones through increased awareness programs and fines.

 Photo of Tim Spaulding

Lieutenant Tim Spaulding poses as a surveyor

Highway construction zones are dangerous - not only for the people who work in them, but for motorists who travel through them as well. Large trucks moving equipment or hauling dirt, limerock, and asphalt while traveling in and out of traffic lanes, construction workers standing close to moving traffic, narrow lanes bordered by barricades and traffic cones, speeding vehicles, and vehicles following too close are some examples why these areas can be dangerous.

In an effort to increase motorist awareness that construction zones are dangerous and that speeding fines are doubled in those areas for a reason, the Florida Highway Patrol in Troop G initiated "Operation Hardhat" to slow motorists down. Lieutenant Tim Spaulding, dressed as a highway construction worker, utilized a laser speed measuring device and set up in the construction zones in plain view in Nassau and St. Johns Counties to clock speeding motorists as they traveled through the area. Speeding motorists were then pulled over by waiting motorcycle troopers and citations were issued. During a total of four hours, 50 citations were issued in Nassau County and 38 more were issued in St. Johns County.

During the last five years in Florida, 134 people have been killed and 12,376 injured in traffic crashes that occurred in highway construction zones. Interstate 95 has been undergoing construction to add additional lanes in Nassau, Duval, and St. Johns counties for the past year and will be continuing for the next few years as well. Several crashes have occurred in these areas over the past few months and a construction worker was killed in St. Johns County on July 23, 2002.

Consideration is being given to expand Operation Hardhat to other areas of Florida in the future.

Photo of Garry Bones
Trooper Garry Bones
issues a citation to a speeding motorist
 Photo of troopers waiting on road
Troopers wait for the call from Lt. Spaulding