While a great deal of roadside safety attention is focused on construction zones, garbage collectors are also at risk of being struck by motorists who don’t slow their speed and give refuge trucks sufficient space.
Legislative efforts are in progress in more than a dozen states that would create penalties for drivers who endanger sanitation workers performing their duties. Under the bills, which are being spearheaded by the Solid Waste Association of North America and the National Waste & Recycling Association, drivers who fail to move over for a garbage truck with its lights flashing could be charged with a moving violation and fined $300 plus court costs.
The legislative push is being accompanied by a “Slow Down to Get Around” campaign.
In 2016, 31 refuses and recycling workers were killed while on the job, two thirds of them in transportation accidents, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Worse, seven sanitation workers were killed in the U.S. in just the first 10 days of 2018.