BUFFALO, N.Y. -- A day after his 66th birthday in 2006, New York state Department of Transportation highway maintenance worker Patrick Mapleson was hit and killed by a speeding cement truck while filling potholes.

His daughter, Karen Torres, recounted the tragedy in a video message as the state announced year-end results of initiatives to keep highway workers safe.

"He was hit so hard he went up through the wheel well," she said. "He was thrown in the air like a rag doll. That's what the witness said that were driving by."

Among those initiatives, New York launched an Automated Work Zone Speed Monitoring Pilot Program in April 2023 and begin issuing fines in May. Through Nov. 22, it said the state issued more than 130,000 notices of liability, the vast majority from Long Island, Rochester-Finger Lakes region highways and the Thruway.

"There have been multiple incidents across the state of vehicles traveling at like insane speeds in work zones, more than one at speeds of over 130 miles an hour," Associated General Contractors of New York State President Mike Elmendorf said.

Elmendorf said the association met with the Department of Transportation this week to discuss some of the data. He said speed cameras appear to be working with average speed reductions in work zones this year but the safety of his members remains a concern.

"Far too many of the men and women who were out there working for the public's benefit in work zones who lost their lives, lost it because of excessive speed in work zones. So this program is a good start. It's a relatively small start," Elmendorf said. "There's more to be done."

The initial fine is $50 followed by $75 and $100 for ensuing violations. Unpaid fines can impact the status of registration but penalties under the automated program are not as severe as traditional speeding tickets, including no points on licenses.

Elmendorf said while he's not sure the Legislature will expand the five-year pilot this session, stricter punishments could be the next step.

"We're certainly not advocating for automated speeding tickets everywhere on roads across New York but work zones are a special place. It's dangerous. It's a dangerous place to work," he said.

The state said following the laws, including slowing down and moving over in these zones, could potentially avoid tragedies like what happened to Torres' father in the future.

"These brave men and women are putting their lives on the line every day so that the roads are safer for us," Torres said. "So why wouldn't we return the favor."