“Move Over” Law Protects Lineworkers on Roadways
Jan. 23, 2024 | Community Features
Linework can be a dangerous job, but not always for the reasons you might think. Most people may consider electrical incidents to be the main hazard for lineworkers, but at DEC, our crews’ most regular risk comes from the ground, in the form of inattentive or distracted drivers. That’s why it’s important for members — and all drivers — to adhere to Delaware’s “Move Over Law” when out on the roads.
Established in Delaware in 2007, the “Move Over Law” was created to help keep law enforcement and public service workers — such as EMTs and firefighters — safe when working on roadways. The law states that drivers approaching a scene where emergency vehicles have enabled their flashing lights must “move over” to keep a safe distance from employees doing their jobs. If they are unable to move over due to oncoming traffic, they should slow down to a safe speed. Since then, the law has expanded to include utility vehicles under its protection, helping to increase the safety of lineworkers in the field. According to DEC’s Manager of Safety and Security Mark Anderson, the “Move Over Law” encourages drivers to be more aware of their surroundings while providing Co-op employees with a little extra peace of mind.
“There’s no secret that our greatest risk is when our employees are out working alongside the roadways,” Anderson says. “In those situations, we don’t know what state of mind people are in when they are approaching us. If we can get motorists to move over, that would help minimize the risk to our employees, since you can never be sure if someone is one hundred percent focused on what’s going on in front of them.”
As a preventative measure against these uncertainties, Anderson says that lineworkers maintain “high visibility” while on the job, wearing reflective clothing and lighted hard hats as well as utilizing emergency lights on their company vehicles and cones to mark worksite perimeters. Still, Anderson says that ensuring employee safety is a team effort, one that involves the vigilance of both those working near the road and those driving by.
“We ask that our members be mindful of this important law,” Anderson says. “We ask that they be mindful of the men and women who are working to provide a service, and at the end of the day, let’s work together to make sure they go home to their families unharmed.”
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