Deadly Garbage Truck Accidents on the Rise

Trash Truck Accidents, Costs on the Rise

Waste management is a critically important service in any community and especially cities in the Pacific Northwest and across the nation. A massive garbage truck picking up a large dumpster and swallowing and crushing the contents in a large hopper is a familiar sight.

Those garbage trucks typically operate during the busiest time of the day and in the busiest locations. The timing and location of most garbage creates a virtual certainty of multiple accidents involving garbage trucks and other vehicles and pedestrians just about every day.

The Solid Waste Association of North America affirms a rising problem with an “unprecedented” number of fatal accidents causing a “surge” in fatalities across the nation in early 2019. The report calls for local, state and federal officials to work together and implement and enact regulations designed to make trash pickups safer for everyone.

Ordinances Often Enable Accidents

Local ordinances that enable garbage trucks to violate traffic laws in order to access the trash and remove it quickly contribute to the problem. In many locales, garbage truck drivers commonly can:

  • Drive the wrong way on one-way streets and alleys.
  • Violate rights-of-way.
  • Occupy the center median.
  • Drive in the opposing traffic lane.
  • Block bicycle lanes.

When local drivers and pedestrians are used to certain traffic patterns and suddenly encounter a large garbage truck disregarding them, the odds of an accident happening rise greatly.

Garbage trucks are very large have obstructed views when backing up. Aside from side mirrors, garbage truck drivers cannot see what is around them and often rely on other drivers to use common sense and give the trucks lots of room to move and handle the trash.

Impatient drivers also contribute to the problem. When drivers find themselves stuck behind a garbage truck moving relatively slowly and making frequent stops, they become tempted to violate traffic laws. Many will pass trucks illegally and violate pedestrian and opposing traffic rights-of-way to get around a garbage truck. Doing so easily could lead to an accident with another vehicle or a pedestrian – or the garbage truck.

When accidents with garbage trucks happen, proving negligence is tricky because of local laws enabling them to get the job done. An experienced personal injury attorney is the solution.