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The 41 Electric Membership Corporations (EMCs) in Georgia, including Tri-County EMC, brought the issue of line worker safety before the 2016 Georgia General Assembly.

Accordingly, EMC linemen will join the ranks of law enforcement, public safety and transportation personnel who will be better protected under a new law signed today by Gov. Nathan Deal.

House Bill 767, the “Move Over for Linemen” legislation, requires any motorist approaching utility linemen at an active work site, as indicated by traffic cones or flashing yellow, amber, white or red lights, to change lanes or reduce their speed to a reasonable and proper speed below the posted speed limit. Any motorist who does not change lanes or drop their speed to avoid the utility workers can be fined up to $250 per incident.  The new bill, effective July 1, applies to all types of utility workers, including electric, natural gas, cable and telecommunications workers, right-of-way crews or utility contractors.

During the legislative session, Georgia EMC led a coalition of utilities and businesses consisting of the 41 EMCs, Georgia Power and municipal systems in support of HB 767, sponsored by Rep. Alan Powell (R-Hartwell).

The new law and added protections are critical to safeguard workers. According to the Georgia Department of Highway Safety, emergency vehicles parked beside a highway are vulnerable to crashes, even with emergency lights flashing. Consequently, the original law (passed in 2003) was created to reduce the number of injuries and fatalities to police officers, paramedics, firefighters, wrecker operators, and highway maintenance workers by maintaining an open buffer lane between passing highway traffic and authorized roadside emergency vehicles.

Gov. Deal signed the bill during a statewide event to recognize Lineman Appreciation Month in April. The EMCs, Georgia Power, municipal systems, Electric Cities of Georgia, MEAG Power and other utilities gathered at the State Capitol as Gov. Deal, members of the legislature and the public said “Thank You” for the work and sacrifice of linemen and keeping the lights on 365 days a year.


The final bill can be viewed here.

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