Working next to roadways, where a lot of power lines are located, can be dangerous. Cars speed by, drivers may be distracted, and then there’s the hazard of working with electricity, too. A road safety issue for all.
Xcel Energy linemen Kellen Schmidt and Scott Knight have experienced a lot of close calls in their years building and repairing power lines. They’re passionate about road safety and worked with their colleagues to push for a new law to provide more protection. Xcel Energy leadership fully supported this effort, because the safety of employees and the public are key priorities for the company.Watch their recent interview with WCCO.
Schmidt spent time at the state capitol during the Minnesota legislature this year, testifying at several committee hearings and working to gain their support for the new law. Gov. Dayton signed the legislation after it passed with bipartisan support last May.
On August 1, the law the linemen pushed for goes into effect. It will require drivers to slow down or move over when approaching utility, construction and emergency vehicles stopped along two-lane roads. The law expands the Ted Foss Move Over Law that currently applies to four-lane roads and is named after a Minnesota State Patrol officer who was killed while stopped on a roadside.
“Lineman work can be a dangerous job,” said Schmidt. “I used to tell people that electricity was the most dangerous part of my job, but now it’s traffic.”