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Please move over for roadside crews

February 22, 2022

Al’s roadside safety story

Every year, workers along the sides of roads are injured or killed when a car crashes into the crew’s site, even when the area is marked with bright cones and warning signs.

Al Sears, a South Central Power Company lineworker in Hillsboro, learned this first-hand after an alcohol-impaired driver drove through a well-marked work zone and hit the outrigger on a bucket truck, which slid into Al and flung him 40 feet through the air. Al was transported to the hospital. Fortunately, he had only minor injuries.

“We practice the safety measures we’ve been trained on all the time, but some things are still out of our control,” says Sears, a 27-year South Central Power veteran. “That day confirmed that I am thankful that God is the one in control.”

Drivers can help keep our lineworkers safe by following Ohio’s Move Over Law that was passed in 1999 to reduce risk to law enforcement and other emergency responders. In 2013, the law was expanded to include every stationary vehicle with flashing lights, including tow trucks and utility vehicles.

Here are the basic requirements:
• When you approach a work zone, change lanes if possible, so that there’s an empty lane between your vehicle and the roadside crew.
• If it’s not possible or safe to change lanes, slow down.
• Drivers must obey all traffic directions posted as part of the worksite.
• Keep control of your car, which means paying attention and responding to weather conditions. And no texting, fiddling with the radio, or other distractions.
• Penalties for violating those requirements in Ohio range from $300 to $1,000 or loss of your driver’s license.

Electric utility crews are special cases to watch out for. A study of utility worksite accidents found that the relatively temporary nature of power line repairs could surprise motorists, especially as crews are setting up signs and traffic cones.

Help us keep our communities safe by following the Move Over Law. It’s good advice that could save a life.