New Law Coming Says Move Over…Again

Traffic Safety Measures for Utility Workers

Lawmakers are telling Washington state drivers to get ready to Move Over again! By expanding safety provisions in the Move Over Law, drivers will now need to steer clear of utility workers, as well other civil servants, starting June 7, 2018.  

Move Over for Utility Workers

Utility workers will soon receive the same protective measures under the Move Over Law as law enforcement and other civil servants. This existing law went into affect in Washington state in 2010. Many refer to it as the “Move Over Law,” because it requires all drivers to move away from any emergency vehicles, first responders, tow truck drivers, and law enforcement parked to the side of the road with their lights on.

Experts and lawmakers, alike, conclude that it’s an important safety measure for all utility workers. While not directly dealing with fellow travelers, utility workers are at their most vulnerable along roadsides. New additions to the law require all vehicles to move away from or slow down around utility work areas.

The law requires drivers approaching the emergency zone of any of the noted vehicles to move over or switch lanes. Needing a reminder for what that emergency zone is?  It’s the 200 feet area before and after any parked vehicle with lights on.  Anyone ignoring this law or who fails to move out of the emergency zone will run the risk of receiving a citation for reckless endangerment.

It’s important to note that the emergency zone is where most utility workers and civil servants are most likely to be hurt.  Any violation of this law is considered a gross misdemeanor and could result in stiff penalties for negligent drivers.

Expanding Safety Areas for Utility Workers

Extending the legal safety net to include utility workers in the existing Move Over Law will greatly improve safety conditions. This is boon especially for workers on power lines or in high traffic areas.

In eastern Washington, Benton PUD leaders recognize utility workers often work in hazardous conditions. Benton’s communication director added that utility workers often work at night and in poor weather. Having every driver looking out for them and moving over will reduce the risk of on-the-job harm and injuries.

In studies by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, motorists were responsible for the accidents involving utility workers. As with many public servants–including utility workers–the new law should decrease safety hazards for all. Any barrier, even legal ones, between moving vehicles and roadside workers, will help improve mortality odds.

Slow to Pass

Drivers will now need to move away from the lane closest to the utility vehicle. It may be difficult if they are traveling in the same direction. If a lane change is not impossible, drivers will need to slow down to pass in a safe manner. Areas 200 feet before and after where utility workers are working require oncoming drivers awareness to slow down and proceed with caution.

“Our linemen and other workers need to be able to concentrate on their work and not have to be concerned about vehicles speeding by the work area,” said Stephen Frost, the utility safety coordinator for Benton PUD, Franklin PUD, Benton REA and the city of Richland Energy Services.

Lawmakers are taking these safety measures seriously. Drivers who fail to obey the law can receive a fine for up to $1000, face jail time, or risk losing their driving privileges.

Our Auto Accident & Personal Injury Lawyers Are Here to Help You

Not only can auto crashes devastate those involved, they can leave workers and their families in senseless shock.

Being hit by any vehicle can cause serious and life-threatening injuries. Seeking legal counsel may not immediately occur to those who sustained personal injuries through no fault of their own.  Most accident victims may not only need excellent medical care, but a skilled and experienced personal attorney to help manage the road to recovery.

At Fielding Law Group, we know exactly how to deal with aggressive insurance companies and the paperwork hassle that comes from keeping it all straight. Our team of professionals will make sure you get the care, compensation and settlement you are entitled to. We will be with you every step of the way.

If you or a loved one has been in an auto accident or hit by a negligent driver, contact Fielding Law Group for a free legal consultation today.   Remember–Don’t let an accident wreck YOU!  We are here to help you get your life back.