This month, a state law was expanded to provide more protection to utility workers, such as crews from Snohomish County PUD.
“The law now requires drivers to move over a lane or slow down for emergency vehicles, including our utility crews, when they’re stopped on the side of the road,” said PUD Senior Safety Manager Rob McManis.
The emergency zone is the 200-foot area before and after any parked vehicle with its lights on. PUD crew workers often work on the side of the roadway in hazardous conditions. Though they have flaggers to direct traffic, some like servicemen don’t always have a flagger and need extra protection.
State lawmakers stressed the importance of extending the law to protect utilities working on roadsides. Drivers who fail to obey the law could be fined up to $1,000 or face possible jail time.
The original “Move Over Law,” which applied to first responders, tow truck drivers and law enforcement vehicles, went into effect in Washington state in 2010.