A relatively new Washington state law can cost a driver a $1,000 traffic ticket for not moving over for power line trucks and other utility vehicles stopped along a road.
Drivers have been required since June to move over a lane or slow down for a utility trucks parked on the shoulder, when state law was added to consider them emergency or work zone vehicles.
The law also covers police cars, tow trucks with lights flashing, highway construction and maintenance vehicles, and solid waste vehicles.
Drivers who do not obey the “move over” law may be ticketed for reckless endangerment of emergency or work zone workers, which is punishable not only by a $1,000 fine but also a jail sentence and loss of driving privileges.
“Our linemen 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, utility safety coordinator for the Benton and Franklin PUDs, the Benton Rural Electric Association and Richland Energy Services.
The agencies point out that utility workers often have to work on power lines along roads in bad weather, at night or in emergency conditions to restore power.