Work Zone and Distracted Driving Awareness

April 11, 2022

If you see utility or emergency crews working on the side of the road, we kindly ask that you move over when possible.

When the power goes out, so do Stearns Electric Association’s line crews. Lineworkers are the first to respond after an outage occurs, and they work hard to restore power to the communities we serve.

If you’re traveling and see one of our crews on the side of the road, if possible, please move over and give them extra space to work. We care about everyone’s safety, and this extra precaution ensures just that.

If you approach a crew while traveling on a two-lane road, moving over to the next lane might not be an option. In this case, we simply ask that you slow down when approaching roadside crews. If you approach a crew while traveling on a four-lane road, and safety and traffic conditions allow, we ask that you move over into the far lane.

Utility crews aren’t the only ones who could use the extra space.

Emergency responders, police officers and firefighters often find themselves responding to emergencies near busy roadways. We ask that you follow the same procedures mentioned above to help keep these crews safe.

The Minnesota “Move Over Law” is intended to keep emergency workers safe and prevent motorists from crashing into stopped vehicles. This law includes and protects utility crews.

April is also Distracted Driving Awareness Month and according to the National Safety Council (NSC), our roads are the most dangerous they’ve been in years. On a typical day, eight people are killed and hundreds more are injured in distracted-affected crashes.

The danger for distracted driving crashes is increased for our lineworkers, utility crews and first responders who are working and responding to emergencies where roadways are already smaller due to the nature of their work.

It’s been nearly three years since Minnesota’s “Hands-Free Law” went into effect. Drivers are able to utilize hands-free technology via voice commands or single-touch activation, but are not allowed to hold their phone will driving.

Hands-free is a great step in the right direction, but hands-free is not guaranteed to be distraction-free.

Please make the commitment to minimize all distractions while you are driving and follow the Minnesota “Move Over Law” for everyone’s safety. There’s plenty of room for all. Let’s work together to keep everyone safe on our local roadways.