During the summer and early fall, seeing work zone signs or construction crews working in the roadway is common. Flaggers or signs force you to slow down or in some situations come to a complete stop. When pressed for time, these situations can be frustrating.
It is important to remind motorists to be careful around the men and women whose jobs put them along the highways and byways, and into harm’s way. Not all work zones are for road repair. Kankakee Valley REMC reminds motorists that utility crews also toil along the roadsides to build, repair and maintain the network of electric lines serving your homes and businesses. Sometimes, crews can be around the next corner or just over the hill, day or night in rain or snow.
While routine line work is done during daylight hours, emergencies and outages happen at any time. When you see warning signs and flaggers, that can mean our crews are nearby.
Whenever motorists see the orange diamond-shaped work zone warning signs, they should slow down and prepare for the zone ahead. Motorists should also take note that Indiana’s “slow down, move over” law isn’t just for emergency vehicles like police stopped on the roadside. Utility work crews, with flashing amber lights, are also protected by the law.
When an emergency vehicle is stopped on two- or fourlane roadways with emergency lights flashing, Indiana law requires motorists to approach cautiously and change lanes away from the emergency vehicle if they can do so safely. If not, they should reduce their speed to 10 mph under the posted speed limit and proceed with caution. The Indiana State Police said motorists should not stop in the roadway; this may cause a chain reaction rear-end collision with other vehicles.
Violating the law can result in a fine and a suspended license if you cause damage to the emergency equipment, or injury or death to an emergency worker. Steeper penalties could be enforced for infractions within highway work zones.
The addition of utility and highway vehicles to the move-over law took effect in July 2010. The change was named “Bryan’s Law” for Bryan Osbon, a 25-year-old Frankfort City Power and Light worker killed in 2008 when the driver of an SUV disregarded flaggers at a work zone and struck a utility truck parked alongside a state road.
“Working on power lines energized with as much as 12,500 volts, up in air at all hours and in all types of weather conditions is dangerous in itself. We ask you to please not make it more dangerous by speeding and disregarding the warning signs,” stated Kankakee Valley REMC Line Superintendent Jeff Newburn.
Sources: Indiana State Police, Workzonesafety.org, moveoverlaws.com