Utility workers and linemen will join the ranks of law enforcement, public safety and transportation personnel who will be better protected under a new law signed by Georgia Governor Nathan Deal.
Georgia House Bill 767 requires any motorist approaching utility linemen at an active work site, as indicated by traffic cones or flashing yellow, amber, white or red lights, to change lanes or reduce their speed to a reasonable and proper speed below the posted speed limit.
Any motorist who does not change lanes or drop their speed to avoid the utility workers can be fined up to $250 per incident. The new bill, effective July 1, applies to all types of utility workers, including electric, natural gas, cable and telecommunications workers, right-of-way crews or utility contractors.
The state already has a law on the books passed in 2003 that requires drivers to maintain an open buffer lane between passing highway traffic and authorized roadside emergency vehicles.
“Our number one priority is the safety of EMC personnel and the public we serve,” says Dennis Chastain, president/CEO, Georgia EMC.“Our line workers – who already perform dangerous work to keep the lights on every day – deserve as safe an environment as possible.”
Georgia EMC led a coalition of utilities and businesses consisting of 41 electric membership cooperatives (EMCs), Georgia Power and municipal systems in support of HB 767, sponsored by Rep. Alan Powell.
“I was proud to sign the Move Over for Linemen bill this morning,” said Gov. Deal. “This bill will help the selfless linemen and women in Georgia go home safely to their families after working around the clock to keep our lights on, even in extreme weather conditions.”
The final Move Over for Linemen bill can be viewed at here.