Dubuque man helps get utility workers covered under "Move Over, - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Dubuque man helps get utility workers covered under "Move Over, Slow Down" law

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DUBUQUE (KWWL) -

An expansion to Iowa's "Move Over, Slow Down" law went into effect July 1, and it was mostly thanks to one Dubuque lineworker.

Corey Birkel says he read about two utility workers getting killed by a distracted driver in Georgia, and decided the law in Iowa needed to do more to cover he and his coworkers.

"That's probably one of my biggest fears working, that traffic and somebody else is going to hit me, instead of us working on power lines. Cause we know what we're doing up there," he said.

Oftentimes, Birkel and other crews have just feet and sometimes just inches, between them and the traffic passing by their work sites.

While he hasn't been hit, he says there have been plenty of close calls to keep them on their toes.

"They can be going 45 in a 35, and if we're walking in between our cones, they're only a foot away from us. So you feel the air, it moves you a little bit, especially if it's a bigger vehicle," he said.

The new law requires you to treat utility vehicles the same way you'd treat police--if you can move over, do so. If not, you have to slow down.

Drivers not observing the law can be fined or even have their license suspended.

Birkel says getting the law changed is a big win for him and his colleagues.

"And when I heard that, you know, I know not everyone is going to get over, but hopefully most people will. It just makes me feel more safe," he said.

Governor Kim Reynolds also got involved in the process, signing a "move over" pledge in Des Moines on Monday.

Iowa becomes just the 12th state to cover utility workers under the "Move Over, Slow Down" law.

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