Brooks Bill Would Protect Utility Workers during Disaster Emergencies

Pennsylvania is prone to severe weather throughout the year, which means electric utility workers can be called out to repair downed power lines in the harshest of conditions. Since fighting the elements is a tough enough job, Senator Michele Brooks has introduced Senate Bill 765, legislation that would offer those workers protection from motorists during disaster emergencies.

Currently, state law provides additional protection for first responders, highway maintenance and construction workers and tow truck operators during emergencies. Motorists are required to travel cautiously at reduced speeds and carefully follow traffic markers, road flares, signs, or directions of emergency responders. Additionally, emergency service responders may file a written report with the police officer upon observing a violation. Violators may be fined up to $500 per offense and pay restitution costs if warranted.

“This legislation would add electric cooperative and utility personnel to the list of protected responders during an emergency,” Senator Brooks said. “These workers often face enough problems battling nature to restore service. These utility workers and their families should not have to be concerned about the reckless and careless actions of some motorists while performing their jobs during disaster emergencies.”

Senate Bill 765 was referred to the Senate Transportation for consideration.

Contact:          Michael Hengst (717) 787-1322

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