EVERY YEAR, WORKERS along the sides of roads are injured or killed when a car crashes into the crew’s site, even though it’s marked with bright cones and warning signs.
There’s an easy way to reduce those incidents that harm first responders, road construction workers and utility crews. Slow down, move over and most importantly, keep your eyes on the road. It’s good advice to keep people safe. It’s also the law in South Carolina and every other state.
In South Carolina, the law is clear. Work zones along roadways should be marked with cones, signage, barriers and other appropriate traffic control devices such as speed limit reduction. Driving through these zones or exceeding the speed requirements can result in fines up to $5,000 and imprisonment, the severity of which depends on whether there is bodily harm or a fatality.
Protecting line crews is a top priority for Lynches River Electric Cooperative, and it’s a safety measure everyone can help with, says Chris Johnson, Safety Coordinator at LREC.
“Our crews already perform dangerous work to keep the lights on every day,” says Johnson. “They deserve a work environment that’s as safe as possible. We encourage everyone to be aware of any crews working along our roadways and to drive through those zones safely.”
Electric utility crews are special cases to watch out for. The temporary nature of power line repairs can surprise motorists. A roadside construction operation might close a lane for days or weeks, giving time for people familiar with the area to anticipate the changed traffic pattern. Utility work, however, can start and finish in a few hours, possibly raising risks with drivers who might think they know the road ahead.