Cleveland Utilities is reminding drivers to move over
CLEVELAND, TN (WRCB) -
A local utility company is reminding drivers to move over. Cleveland Utilities says it is ramping up its efforts to keep its workers safe. It says many drivers still do not realize utility trucks and workers are included in the state's 'move over' law.
Most people know if you see a police car on the highway, the law says you have to change lanes and move over. The same law in Tennessee applies to utility drivers too.
"When we're parked on the side of the road, it increases the danger for utility workers," says John Corum.
John Corum is the Safety Director for Cleveland Utilities. On any given day, the service provider has more than 80 workers on the road.
"Probably one of the most dangerous things these guys will do on a day-in day-out basis, is work in or near motor vehicle traffic," says Corum.
The Tennessee Department of Safety reports each year more than 100 highway and street construction workers are killed as a result of vehicle crashes or equipment accidents.
It is a danger Aaron Kinser is all too familiar with.
"The car was coming at fast rate of speed there and I had already told the gentleman in the bucket to hold on because I didn't know if they were going to change lanes," says Kinser.
In his 37 years on the job, Kinser has seen his fair share of close calls, one recently when a distracted driver came within feet of his crew and truck.
"It was just very scary. It really was. I was ready to jump out of the way but there wasn't anything the guy in the bucket could do."
"We want to make sure that our guys are safe," says Corum.
Cleveland Utilities recently added 'move over' bumper stickers to its fleet, as a visual reminder to drivers on top of the flashing lights, cones, and signs.
"If you see flashing lights at a distance, start slowing down. Start paying more attention," says Kinser.
"If you can't at all move over, as the law states, if you can't, at the very least, slow down until you get through that work traffic zone and then you can go on your way," says Corum.
The move over law was passed in 2006 but was amended three years ago to include utility workers. If you are caught violating the 'move over' law, it is a Class B misdemeanor and drivers can face fines up to $500 or up to 30 days in jail or both.