Legislature(2017 - 2018)BUTROVICH 205

03/01/2018 01:30 PM Senate TRANSPORTATION

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Heard & Held
Heard & Held
Heard & Held
          HB 204-OVERTAKING/PASSING ROAD WORK VEHICLES                                                                      
1:44:33 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR STEDMAN announced the consideration of HB 204.                                                                            
1:45:03 PM                                                                                                                    
WILLIAM  JODWALIS, Staff,  Representative  Kawasaki, Alaska  State                                                              
Legislature,  Juneau, Alaska,  disclosed that  Dan Carson,  former                                                              
DOT&PF  equipment   operator  in  Fairbanks,  brought   the  issue                                                              
forward.  He said he  would speak  briefly as  to current  statute                                                              
what  the  bill  does,  what  changes  have  been  made  from  its                                                              
original version  and the penalties  that come with  any violation                                                              
of what this bill puts forward as follows:                                                                                      
     Under AS  28.35.185(a), drivers  are required to  vacate                                                                   
     the nearest  lane or  slowdown when approaching  certain                                                                   
     stationary  emergency  and  service vehicles  which  are                                                                   
     flashing  emergency  lights  on a  highway  or  roadway.                                                                   
     Such vehicles  currently include:  emergency, fire,  law                                                                   
     enforcement,  animal control  vehicles,  and tow  trucks                                                                   
     in  the act of  picking up  a vehicle.  This bill  adds,                                                                   
     "Vehicle in  the act of performing maintenance  or road-                                                                   
     service work,"  to the list  of vehicles subject  to the                                                                   
     existing  move-over  law, allowing  private  contractor,                                                                   
     municipal  maintenance   vehicles  to  fall   under  its                                                                   
     jurisdiction,     including     the    Department     of                                                                   
     Under  this bill  if a  driver approaches  one of  these                                                                   
     vehicles, those  preforming maintenance or  road service                                                                   
     work which  is displaying  flashing emergency lights  on                                                                   
     a  highway, with  two  or more  lanes  the driver  shall                                                                   
     vacate the lane  closest to the vehicle or  slow down to                                                                   
     a reasonable  speed  if they cannot  vacate the  closest                                                                   
     lane safely.  On a road with  fewer than two  lanes, the                                                                   
     driver   shall  slow   down   to  a   reasonable   speed                                                                   
     considering traffic, roadway, and weather conditions.                                                                      
1:47:33 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. JODWALIS explained  changes made from the original  version of                                                              
HB 204 during committee proceeding in House Transportation.                                                                     
CHAIR STEDMAN  asked Mr.  Jodwalis to  address the bill's  current                                                              
MR.  JODWALIS  explained the  penalties  related  to the  bill  as                                                              
     Under AS  28.35.185, failure to  move over is a  class A                                                                   
     misdemeanor if  personal injury results from  a person's                                                                   
     failure  to vacate  the lane  or slow  down. Failure  to                                                                   
     move over  that does  not result  in personal injury  is                                                                   
     punishable  by  a  $150  fine   and  2  points  assessed                                                                   
     against  the driver's  license.  This  statute has  been                                                                   
     effective  since  September   2005.  We  confirmed  with                                                                   
     municipal  police  departments  that  they  enforce  the                                                                   
     same statute.                                                                                                              
He summarized  that  HB 204 would  help reduce  the likelihood  of                                                              
work-zone-related accidents  and tragedies and help  make Alaska's                                                              
roads a safer place to drive and work.                                                                                          
SENATOR  WILSON  asked how  the  bill  differs from  current  laws                                                              
regarding highway work zones.                                                                                                   
MR. JODWALIS  specified that  the bill  would apply to  situations                                                              
where someone is working on the side of the road.                                                                               
1:51:32 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR WILSON asked what the requirement and process is from                                                                   
DOT&PF for an individual to work on potholes or guardrails.                                                                     
MR. JODWALIS replied that DOT&PF can better answer Senator                                                                      
Wilson's question.                                                                                                              
SENATOR BISHOP commented as follows:                                                                                            
     Let  me   help  you  explain   this.  So,  you   have  a                                                                   
     construction project  that has an improved  traffic plan                                                                   
     in  it, let's  say  it's a  bid awarded  DOT&PF  highway                                                                   
     construction  project.  So,  we have  two  issues  here,                                                                   
     this  bill with a  DOT&PF approved  traffic plan,  okay,                                                                   
     that's over  here. This bill  is, as I interpret  it, is                                                                   
     trying to fix  what's not a DOT&PF  awarded construction                                                                   
     plan  to  a  private  contractor.  This  bill  is,  like                                                                   
     Senator  Wilson  said,  there  could  be  a  maintenance                                                                   
     issue  here where  DOT&PF is  doing  pothole repairs  or                                                                   
     doing  an overlay  where they  will  have two  flaggers,                                                                   
     they will  have two lighted  signs on either end  of the                                                                   
     job, but this  is getting a little tighter  yet where it                                                                   
     might just  be a one-truck  pothole patch or  a recovery                                                                   
     effort of a  tow vehicle, etc. This is  covering outside                                                                   
     of a controlled traffic plan outside of DOT&PF.                                                                            
1:53:37 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR STEDMAN opened public testimony.                                                                                          
1:53:53 PM                                                                                                                    
BOB   ANDERSON,   Central   Region  Chief   of   Maintenance   and                                                              
Operations,  Alaska   Department  of  Transportation   and  Public                                                              
Facilities (DOT&PF),  Anchorage, Alaska,  testified in  support of                                                              
HB 204 and commented as follows:                                                                                                
     DOT&PF supports  HB 204 as  it has potential  to provide                                                                   
     additional  safety to crews  that are working  along the                                                                   
     road and highways  every day. Our maintenance  operators                                                                   
     are  the people  you see  every day  working to  provide                                                                   
     safe routes  for Alaskans,  higher risk situations  they                                                                   
     face  daily  include  out   of  control  vehicles,  road                                                                   
     debris,  and close  proximity to  traffic. The  approval                                                                   
     of this bill could potentially minimize these risks.                                                                       
He provided national work-zone accident statistics from the US                                                                  
Department of Transportation as follows:                                                                                        
   • Work-zone accidents:                                                                                                       
        o 2015: 96,000;                                                                                                         
        o 2014: 89,000;                                                                                                         
        o 2013: 68,000.                                                                                                         
   • Work-zone accidents occur every 5.4 minutes with 0.7                                                                       
     percent resulting in a fatality.                                                                                           
MR.  ANDERSON   disclosed  that   during  the  previous   month  a                                                              
maintenance  worker in  Colorado  sustained  fatal injuries  while                                                              
filling  potholes. He  added  that Alaska  experienced  a loss  in                                                              
[2016] when  [Robert Hammel]  was struck  [on the Seward  Highway]                                                              
while  assisting  Alaska State  Troopers.  He noted  accidents  in                                                              
work zones that occurred without serious injuries as well.                                                                      
He summarized  that DOT&PF  staff take pride  in the work  they do                                                              
and want to make Alaska's road safe for all motorists.                                                                          
1:56:22 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  WILSON  asked Mr.  Anderson  to explain  the  safety-zone                                                              
procedures for DOT&PF maintenance work.                                                                                         
MR. ANDERSON replied as follows:                                                                                                
     I believe  this bill is  more pointed towards  work that                                                                   
     is done  by one or  two personnel  at one time  where we                                                                   
     don't have  to go  through the process  of setting  up a                                                                   
     complete  traffic  control  plan. We  do  have  policies                                                                   
     that  dictate that  we use  traffic  control plans,  but                                                                   
     they are  quite a bit  different than what  we typically                                                                   
     see  on  a  construction  project   for  issues  like  a                                                                   
     guardrail  repair.  We  dictate   that  our  crews  park                                                                   
     safely off  the side of the  road and out of  harm's way                                                                   
     and  we have  emergency flashing  lights  on, but  there                                                                   
     might  not be  the  whole  contention of  warning  signs                                                                   
     leading up to the work zone.                                                                                               
SENATOR WILSON  asked him to provide  a copy of the  procedures to                                                              
the committee.                                                                                                                  
1:58:03 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR MACKINNON  addressed her  concern for increased  liability                                                              
as follows:                                                                                                                     
     Could you  tell me is  there any increased  liability as                                                                   
     we expand  our definition  beyond the  public sector?  I                                                                   
     see we  have tow trucks listed  in here so he  have made                                                                   
     an exception  once now for  tow trucks, but the  bill as                                                                   
     it  was introduced  was limited  to state,  so it  seems                                                                   
     like we  are expanding  it which would  be a good  thing                                                                   
     in the  sense that more  people would be protected,  but                                                                   
     will  the general  public  be  able to  recognize  those                                                                   
     that are performing  maintenance that might be  in these                                                                   
MR. ANDERSON  answered that he does  not see any  added liability.                                                              
He  noted  that  the requirement  for  emergency  flashing  lights                                                              
continues which adds additional protection.                                                                                     
SENATOR  BISHOP  suggested  that   DOT&PF  consider  doing  public                                                              
service  announcements to  inform the  public if  the bill  became                                                              
2:00:16 PM                                                                                                                    
DAN  CARSON, representing  self, Fairbanks,  Alaska, testified  in                                                              
support of  HB 204. He disclosed  that he used to work  for DOT&PF                                                              
in Fairbanks as  an equipment operator and that was  where he came                                                              
up with  the idea for  the bill. He  said his experience  was that                                                              
motorists  were   not  slowing  down   or  moving  over   in  road                                                              
maintenance  areas. He opined  that HB  204 would protect  workers                                                              
that are out on the road.                                                                                                       
2:02:17 PM                                                                                                                    
DUSTIN WITTE,  employee, Alaska  Department of Transportation  and                                                              
Public Facilities,  Fairbanks, Alaska, testified in  support of HB
204. He said  there were a lot  of distracted drivers  on the road                                                              
and the bill will  keep everybody that works on the  road from tow                                                              
truck drivers to DOT&PF personnel safe.                                                                                         
CHAIR  STEDMAN  said  Captain  Dan  Lowden  of  the  Alaska  State                                                              
Troopers  would address  the  committee. He  asked  if the  Alaska                                                              
State Troopers supported the bill.                                                                                              
2:03:31 PM                                                                                                                    
DAN LOWDEN, Captain,  Alaska State Troopers, Alaska  Department of                                                              
Public Safety  (DPS), Anchorage, Alaska,  replied that he  was not                                                              
certain  if the  department has  taken a  position on  HB 204.  He                                                              
admitted that  the bill was clearly  intended to make  people safe                                                              
that are working along the roadway.                                                                                             
SENATOR MACKINNON  asked  if the requirement  for flashing  lights                                                              
creates problems.                                                                                                               
CAPTAIN LOWDEN answered as follows:                                                                                             
     I don't  know of a  regulation that specifically  states                                                                   
     that  there  is  a  regulation   about  towing  vehicles                                                                   
     having  flashing lights,  but I suspect  from what  I've                                                                   
     seen  almost all  vehicles  that are  doing roadwork  in                                                                   
     manners  that  put  them  alongside  the  roadway,  they                                                                   
     already  have  lights.  I  think  as  it  was  discussed                                                                   
     earlier,  I don't believe  that this  bill was  intended                                                                   
     for  construction sites  that  extend  a distance  along                                                                   
     the highway,  I think this  was intended for  the single                                                                   
     kind of  vehicle that  they might  be changing a  street                                                                   
     light,   doing  potholes,   working   on  a   guardrail,                                                                   
     clearing  brush, that  sort  of thing.  I would  suspect                                                                   
     that they would  all have lights and it  certainly would                                                                   
     seem  to me  that if  they didn't  it would  in fact  be                                                                   
     hard for the  public to understand what is  going on for                                                                   
     compliance to the statute.                                                                                                 
2:06:20 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR MACKINNON noted that Anchorage has had casualties and                                                                   
commented as follows:                                                                                                           
     In Anchorage  we have  had casualties beyond  performing                                                                   
     maintenance  or road service,  but when contractors  are                                                                   
     out in the  right-of-way, they are doing the  same thing                                                                   
     and they  usually have  stationary equipment along  side                                                                   
     of  the road as  well and  those Alaskans  are in  harms                                                                   
     way  if you  don't slow  down  or move  over. We've  had                                                                   
     some  near-death  experiences  with  contractors  having                                                                   
     people in  those right-of-ways and  to me it  seems like                                                                   
     it would  qualify based on  the new language  coming out                                                                   
     of  the Judiciary  Committee that  a vehicle  performing                                                                   
     maintenance,  maintenance is  reconstruction  of a  road                                                                   
     or  road service  work,  that's reconstruction  that  it                                                                   
     would qualify.                                                                                                             
     So, I guess  it's two-fold, I need to know  whether this                                                                   
     definition will  extend to contractors in a  roadway and                                                                   
     then  if not,  why? Then,  I also  need to  know in  the                                                                   
     summer  if you  don't  have  flashing lights  then  that                                                                   
     would  exempt those  contractors  or require  additional                                                                   
     expense  on state  contacts  or municipal  contracts  to                                                                   
     add  the flashing  lights and  is that what  we want  to                                                                   
2:08:21 PM                                                                                                                    
MATT WALKER, State Traffic and Safety Engineer, Alaska                                                                          
Department  of  Transportation   and  Public  Facilities,  Juneau,                                                              
Alaska, testified in support of  HB 204 and commented as follows:                                                               
     To  fulfill  the department's  mission  to  keep  Alaska                                                                   
     moving, our  employees are frequently on or  adjacent to                                                                   
     roadways and  moving traffic. We are  inspecting bridges                                                                   
     and  roadways   to  identify  repair  that   extend  our                                                                   
     infrastructure's    life.   We    are   designing    our                                                                   
     infrastructure  for safer  and  more efficient  movement                                                                   
     by  the   public.  We   are  assisting  with   emergency                                                                   
     response.  We are performing  maintenance and  operation                                                                   
     activities  like snow  and  ice removal,  and  repairing                                                                   
     signs  and pavement  markings,  and  roads and  bridges,                                                                   
     and guardrails.                                                                                                            
CHAIR STEDMAN asked Mr. Walker to address Senator MacKinnon's                                                                   
previous questions.                                                                                                             
SENATOR MACKINNON restated her questions as follows:                                                                            
     We have  construction crews  that, I'll use  the Muldoon                                                                   
     bridge as  an example where  there was construction  and                                                                   
     barriers and  cones, everything set up, and  it seems to                                                                   
     me that  based on the  language that's coming  over from                                                                   
     the  other body  the act  of  performing maintenance  or                                                                   
     road  service work  that private  contractors would  now                                                                   
     be included  in this  new definition,  that's the  first                                                                   
     question. Is  that accurate, because before it  was much                                                                   
     narrower. I  certainly supported the previous  iteration                                                                   
     of  the bill where  it was  DOT&PF, that's  who we  were                                                                   
     protecting,  but I think it's  a good conversation  that                                                                   
     we  have contractors  on the  roadway  that are  placing                                                                   
     their  lives at  risk  as well  as  DOT&PF employees  or                                                                   
     other municipal folks.                                                                                                     
2:11:14 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. WALKER replied as follows:                                                                                                  
     These  contractors  do work  for  the department,  so  I                                                                   
     think  the fact  that they  are on  the road  performing                                                                   
     maintenance  work they  would  be covered  as they  have                                                                   
     their  flashers up; they  are still  required to  put up                                                                   
     traffic  control  when  they  are  doing  work  for  the                                                                   
     department  according  to  the  Alaska  Traffic  Manual,                                                                   
     just as our maintenance personnel are required to do.                                                                      
SENATOR MACKINNON asked  him to touch base with  the Department of                                                              
Law and provide a definitive answer. She continued as follows:                                                                  
     Those  contractors  who  are   working  in  the  roadway                                                                   
     should be  protected and we  should educate,  as Senator                                                                   
     Bishop suggested,  the general  population to know  that                                                                   
     if somebody  is stationary  in the roadway operating  on                                                                   
     a  road,  they should  move  to  the left,  they  should                                                                   
     vacate   the   closest  lane   to   provide   additional                                                                   
     protection to those working in the roadway.                                                                                
     My secondary  concern is requiring the  flashing lights.                                                                   
     I'm not sure  they are always there in the  summer. Now,                                                                   
     maybe I'm  just not seeing  them because it's  light for                                                                   
     some  time during  an  Alaska summer,  but  if we  could                                                                   
     check  on whether  those lights  are required  currently                                                                   
     on all  projects or whether  those lights stop  flashing                                                                   
     during  daytime hours  because  that  might negate  them                                                                   
     from being part of this if the flashers aren't going.                                                                      
MR.  WALKER  answered  that  the   DOT&PF  Alaska  Traffic  Manual                                                              
requires lights to be on during roadwork.                                                                                       
CHAIR STEDMAN asked if DOT&PF was in support of the HB 204.                                                                     
MR. WALKER answered yes.                                                                                                        
2:13:56 PM                                                                                                                    
TRENTON ENGLISH,  Business Representative, Public  Employees Local                                                              
71, Juneau, Alaska,  testified in support of HB  204. He disclosed                                                              
that  the labor  union represents  many men  and women  throughout                                                              
the  state that  spend  a great  deal of  time  working along  the                                                              
state's roadways. He  asserted that the additions HB  204 makes to                                                              
the Move Over Law will go along way to keeping workers safe.                                                                    
2:14:58 PM                                                                                                                    
DON   ETHRIDGE,   Lobbyist,  Alaska   AFL-CIO,   Juneau,   Alaska,                                                              
testified in  support of HB  204. He addressed Senator  McKinnon's                                                              
question  and  noted  that  the  bill is  intended  to  cover  all                                                              
construction  workers  and  DOT&PF maintenance  personnel  on  the                                                              
2:15:45 PM                                                                                                                    
At ease.                                                                                                                        
2:16:15 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR STEDMAN called the committee back to order.                                                                               
MR. ETHRIDGE added that traffic supervisors are trained to let                                                                  
everyone know that "caution lighting" is required with signage.                                                                 
2:17:18 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR STEDMAN closed public testimony.                                                                                          
2:17:44 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR STEDMAN held HB 204 in committee.                                                                                         

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HB 204 Version J 4.19.17.pdf STRA 3/1/2018 1:30:00 PM
HB 204
HB 204 Senate Transportation Committee Memo.pdf STRA 3/1/2018 1:30:00 PM
HB 204
HB 204 Minor Offences Table.pdf STRA 3/1/2018 1:30:00 PM
HB 204
HB 204 Explanation of Changes.pdf STRA 3/1/2018 1:30:00 PM
HB 204
HB 204 DOT Work Zone Safety Week PR.pdf STRA 3/1/2018 1:30:00 PM
HB 204
HB 204 CS (JUD) Sponsor Statement.pdf STRA 3/1/2018 1:30:00 PM
HB 204
HB 204 Citation Statistics.pdf STRA 3/1/2018 1:30:00 PM
HB 204
HB 204 AAA Support Letter.pdf STRA 3/1/2018 1:30:00 PM
HB 204
HB 204 NWZAW Poster.pdf STRA 3/1/2018 1:30:00 PM
HB 204
HB 204 - FN DPS.pdf STRA 3/1/2018 1:30:00 PM
HB 204
HB 204 - FN DOA.pdf STRA 3/1/2018 1:30:00 PM
HB 204
HB 82 ver J.A 2.26.18.pdf STRA 3/1/2018 1:30:00 PM
HB 82
HB 82 Supporting Documents - Powerpoint 4.11.2017.pdf STRA 3/1/2018 1:30:00 PM
HB 82
HB 82 Summary of Changes.pdf STRA 3/1/2018 1:30:00 PM
HB 82
HB 82 Sponsor Statement 4.11.2017.pdf STRA 3/1/2018 1:30:00 PM
HB 82
HB 82 Sectional Analysis.pdf STRA 3/1/2018 1:30:00 PM
HB 82
HB 82 Letters of Support 2.15.18.pdf STRA 3/1/2018 1:30:00 PM
HB 82
HB 82 - FN DOA.pdf STRA 3/1/2018 1:30:00 PM
HB 82
SB163 Fiscal Note DOT-MSCVE 1.29.18.pdf STRA 3/1/2018 1:30:00 PM
SB 163
SB163 Hearing Request 1.29.18.pdf STRA 3/1/2018 1:30:00 PM
SB 163
SB163 ver A 1.29.18.pdf STRA 3/1/2018 1:30:00 PM
SB 163
SB163 Sponsor Statement 1.29.18.pdf STRA 3/1/2018 1:30:00 PM
SB 163