With nicer weather and longer days comes the opportunity for more road and construction work. Projects like these include improving roadways, installing traffic changes, and maintaining or updating infrastructure. Due to the increased road activity these projects cause, it is a time for drivers to be alert and respectful to workers and crews. Linemen and other utility workers are protected by Washington state‘s “Move Over Law.”
This law was originally enacted to protect law enforcement officers or other emergency vehicles responding to incidents. Drivers must move over to the other lane, if safe to do so, or slow down and pass safely if changing lanes isn’t possible. Linemen and other utility workers have the same protections for their safety as law enforcement, firefighters, and emergency responders.
The emergency zone definition includes work zones for linemen maintaining or repairing power lines or equipment along roadways. It also adds protections for other utility and maintenance personnel who regularly do work on the roadside.
When you see the flashing lights on a truck or bright orange signs alerting of upcoming construction zones, move over or slow down. Drivers must move out of the lane closest to a utility vehicle, if you can safely do so. If not, slow down 200 feet before and after a stopped emergency vehicle that has its warning lights flashing.
PenLight’s linemen and crews often work on power lines and electrical distribution equipment along roadways. The job can take them out at night, in bad weather or in emergency situations. Motorists who don’t pay attention when driving through a work zone add an extra layer of danger to this work.
Linemen need to concentrate on their work, not be distracted by vehicles speeding or driving recklessly near them. In many cases, PenLight has flaggers at each end of an area where utility work is taking place. Motorists must also pay attention to these workers. Flaggers are there to protect linemen and the public.