Page 21 - Alabama 811 Magazine 2022 Issue 2
P. 21

Where’s a Cop When You Need One?
By Virginia Reames Y The Policy Center
ou’re driving along the Interstate – doing 70-75, and a car blasts past you - gets over into the passing lane
– then cuts back, and either zips up the off-ramp, or keeps going while you watch and wonder “Where are the cops? How come they never catch these guys?”.
You’re driving along a secondary road and you see a few trucks, a wheel of wire, and an excavator –but what you don’t see is any paint or flags marking the utilities. Guys are out of their trucks, and the excavator has been backed off the trailer – they’re about to get to work – no doubt about it. Yeah, they turned in a ticket, but they “don’t have time to wait no 48 hours”. Or did they even get a ticket? Maybe “it’s just a quick few hundred yards,” and then they are done.
Quick (and stupid) question: does it matter how big the job is if they hit a
line? Maybe cut off 911? What if you’ve seen these same guys do this more than one time?
Maybe, instead of getting half-mad, and driving off, maybe you should take a quick photo of what you are looking
at – and how there aren’t any utilities marked. Maybe you should tell your 811 what you are seeing.
Oh yes, most definitely, that contractor isn’t going to be happy with you – but
- maybe your 911 won’t get cut off, or your internet, or phone – or worst of all, your gas lines! Maybe you’ll actually do that contractor a favor – might be a great idea for him to send his guys to “safety school” and have to watch the training videos if it’s a second offense.
Most all 811s and Damage Prevention has training videos they can let you see - or that they can/do impose on either a serious or repeated offender – before they start to charge him fines. (Collecting fines isn’t the mission.)
Fiber optic is going in everywhere, and there are lots of specialist contractors doing the work. They come from various states, and the occasional crew thinks “they can’t fine me, I’m not from around here” and they roll on.
Well, if the General Contractor finds out, he’s gonna want to talk to them. If two or three of his crews get called in on, there will be a fine on him. He won’t like that – not at all. Remember he had to bid that job maybe post a bond. He has to do it right!
Next time you drive by and notice there aren’t any utilities marked, and a work crew is obviously either working or about to go to work, realize those guys are no different than that car on the Interstate that you know is “gonna kill somebody”. Guess who that cop is now?
Yep – it’s you! Safety is just as much your job as it is that cop on the Interstate!
2022, Issue 2 Alabama 811 • 19

   19   20   21   22   23