NAEC linemen face dangers every day on the job. On a routine basis, they may be required to make repairs high off the ground or work with high-voltage power lines and other electrical equipment. But more often than not, those dangers are nothing compared to the hazards of working along the side of the road.
Our members have almost certainly seen NAEC linemen having to work near the roadside as they make repairs. On local roads, linemen rarely have more than a few feet separating them from high-speed traffic. Often, they are so close to speeding vehicles that they feel the breeze as they pass. With so little margin for error, it is crucial that drivers pay attention and give first responders, police and line crews the space they need to work safely. Doing so isn’t just courteous. It’s the law.
Last year, Gov. Kay Ivey signed the Move Over Act into law. It requires drivers to move over or slow down when they pass law enforcement, utility workers or any vehicle with flashing lights on the side of the road. The law encourages drivers to be more aware of those working on the side of the road and recognize the potential dangers they face. It’s also meant to educate Alabama residents on how they can make that work safer. Something as simple as moving over could save a life.
What does the law say?
When an emergency vehicle using any visual signal is stopped or parked on or next to a roadway, drivers approaching the parked vehicle should move over into an available lane not immediately adjacent to the emergency vehicle. If they are unable to safely make a lane change, drivers should slow down to a reasonable speed for existing weather, road and vehicular or pedestrian traffic conditions.
What can you do?
Be aware — Drive carefully, and look out for pedestrians or vehicles on the side of the road.
Move over — If you’re driving on a multilane road and it is safe to do so, move over a lane to provide a safe distance.
Slow down — If moving over isn’t an option, slow down to a safe speed for the weather and road conditions.