Jul 11, 2016 by Chris Wood, Ph.D.
This past legislative session, Gov. Nathan Deal signed House Bill 767 to amend the Spencer Pass Law, which now provides additional safety measures for utility vehicles and protection for citizens and utility employees such as those working in the field for the PCWASA.
This Act to amend Article 1 of Chapter 6 of Title 40 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relates to general provisions regarding uniform rules of the road, to include utility vehicles among those – such as tow trucks and highway maintenance vehicles – warranting this procedure outlining proper procedures for passing.
Citizens should take caution when approaching a site with utility vehicles in service, which will be identified for protection by traffic cones and/or flashing lights colored yellow, amber, red, and now white (added because of the prevalence of this colored light among utility vehicles such as those of the PCWASA) at the site.
When approaching a utility vehicle in service, drivers should make a lane change into a lane not adjacent to the utility service vehicle, if possible within these particular safety and traffic conditions. Or, if such a lane change is not possible, drivers should reduce speed to a reasonable and proper speed for the existing road and traffic conditions, which should be less than the posted speed limit, while also being prepared to stop.
Fines for violations of this Code could be as much as $500 in most cases. In terms of the new language of this amended Spencer Pass Law, utility service vehicles now include those being used by an employee or contractor of a local authority providing utility services, which now include water and wastewater, making the Law applicable for the PCWASA and its personnel and customers.
Chris Wood, Ph.D.
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