Washington State's "Move Over Law" Now Include Linemen & Other Utility Workers
by Mason PUD 3 on
June 07, 2018
Linemen and other utility workers now protected by Washington State's "Move Over Law."
(SHELTON, WA) – You’re driving along, listening to hot tunes on the radio. Suddenly, you come upon law enforcement officers, or an emergency crew along the side of the road, their vehicles all lit up by flashing light bars. What are you legally supposed to do? Move over if you can, slow down and safely pass if you can’t.
Today (June 7), Washington State’s “Move Over Law” was expanded. Linemen and other utility workers have the same protections for their safety as law enforcement, firefighters, and emergency responders.
What’s the Change?
The “emergency zone” definition now 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.
What Am I supposed to Do?
When you see the flashing emergency lights on a truck, or a bright orange sign saying “Utility Work Ahead,” move over or slow down. You will have to move out of the lane closest to a utility vehicle, including line trucks, 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.
Why Is It Important to “Move Over?”
Mason PUD 3’s linemen and their crews often work on power lines and electrical distribution equipment along roadways. Sometimes their job takes 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, PUD 3 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.
What If I Don’t Follow the Law?
A driver who violates the law can be fined $1,000, receive a jail sentence and lose driving privileges.