Kansans need to ‘Move Over’ for utility workers or face a hefty fine

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Cars drive past construction workers along Interstate Highway 66 in Manassas, Virginia, on August 10, 2021. – The US Senate approved US President Joe Biden’s $1.2 trillion infrastructure investment plan. The package described by the White House as “historic” only needed a simple majority to pass, and received the rare backing of several Republicans. The ambitious plan provides for $550 billion in new federal spending on transport infrastructure, but also for high-speed internet and efforts to fight climate change. (Photo by Andrew CABALLERO-REYNOLDS / AFP) (Photo by ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images)

TOPEKA (KSNT) — Kansans may be used to pulling over for emergency vehicles on the side of the road, but now a new list of vehicles has been added to that list.

Governor Laura Kelly held a bill signing Thursday for a new addition to the state’s “Move Over” traffic law.

The governor signed Senate Bill 67 at the International Brotherhood of Electric Workers, IBEW, in Topeka. The law requires a driver to yield the right-of-way to any authorized utility vehicle or pedestrian engaged in work on the highway when the vehicle displays flashing lights.

“It was initially put in place to protect law enforcement officers and first responders, and now we’re adding utility workers, so we know that it works, we know that it’s important, and I’m very glad that we’re able to get this done,” Kelly said.

The governor said she spearheaded the effort to add transportation workers and Kansas Dept. of Transportation employees to the law in 2006, and it’s been effective since.

Vehicles identified as “utility” vehicles under the law include those being operated by authorized personnel for an electric or natural gas public utility or municipal-owned utility and being used for repairs needed to restore necessary services or ensure public safety. It also includes vehicles being operated by a local exchange carrier, telecommunications carrier, video service provider, or wireless infrastructure or service provider, and being used for repairs.

The law prohibits a driver from overtaking or passing another vehicle when within 100 feet of one of these vehicles. If a driver doesn’t move over, they can face a $105 fine.

The law also includes funeral escorts and processions, requiring drivers to yield the right-of-way.

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