MAYER, Minn. (WCCO) — Looking at the big utility poles along the side of the road, you might think electricity and heights would be the most dangerous parts of Kellen Schmidt’s job as a lineman with Xcel Energy.
However, Schmidt believes the biggest work hazard he encounters every day has four wheels and two hands.
“People are plowing over our road cones and they don’t even know it. They just keep driving,” said Schmidt.
After having his hard hat blown off by cars driving by too close, he began his crusade to expand the “Ted Foss Move Over Law,” along with one of his co-workers.
That legislation applies to emergency vehicles with flashing lights on highways and freeways with at least four lanes of traffic.
“It’s a great law but it did nothing to help us,” said Schmidt.
Starting Wednesday, a new law kicks strengthening the current law, expanding it from four-lane to two-lane roads.
According to the Minnesota House of Representatives, the law now requires drivers to slow down on roads with two lanes of traffic when passing emergency vehicles, tow trucks, road maintenance and utility vehicles that are stopped on the side of the roadway with emergency or warning lights activated.
If it’s not possible for a driver to move over, drivers are required to reduce their speed until their vehicle has completely passed the parked or stopped vehicle.
The fines for violating the “Move Over” law can top $100.