Give Your Garbage Collector a Brake

garbage truck

In the U.S., we toss out more than 250 million tons of garbage every year. Unfortunately, once all that trash is tossed to the curb, it’s a dangerous job to pick it up.

Collecting garbage is one of the top five most dangerous jobs in America. The fatal injury rate is higher than it is for police officers, firefighters, construction workers and miners.

So what can we do to help keep our garbage collectors safe? Drive safely! Being struck by a motorist is a leading cause of death for garbage truck drivers. Luckily, with proper awareness, it’s completely preventable.

First, slow down when approaching collection trucks. Stop if necessary to allow them to do their job. Not only are garbage collectors trying to focus on doing their job, they are also dealing with limited visibility, loud noises, and — compared to the average vehicle — relatively complicated machinery.

Second, give trucks and workers plenty of space. If you pass a truck, check for workers on the ground first. Then check for traffic coming from the opposite direction. If it’s all clear, move over in the road to create a safe distance between you and the truck. Don’t try to pass a garbage truck if there isn’t room, if there is oncoming traffic, or if the visibility is poor.

Third, stay alert while passing a collection truck. Don’t accelerate while passing, and avoid distractions such as texting, using a GPS or radio until you have safely made it around the truck.

Follow these steps and you’ll make your neighborhood garbage collector’s job a whole lot safer.