Motorists Required to Slow Down and Proceed With Caution When Approaching Active Sanitation Vehicles or Face New Penalties
Trenton, NJ – May 3, 2017 – On May 1st, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (R), signed into law legislation that will protect workers in the waste and recycling industry. A-4452/S-518, New Jersey’s version of the Slow Down to Get Around law, affords waste industry workers the same kinds of slow down protections around their vehicles as afforded police, ambulance workers and other emergency personnel around their vehicles. The legislation was sponsored by Senator Jennifer Beck (R-11); and, Assembly Members Joann Downey (D-11), Eric Houghtaling (D-11), Daniel Benson (D-14) and Raj Mukherji (D-33.)
New Jersey is now the fifteenth state to enact this vital legislation, commonly referred to as Slow Down to Get Around, which is designed to protect waste and recycling workers. The New Jersey chapter of the National Waste and Recycling Association (NWRA) took critical steps to develop this legislation nationally and then worked hard with industry members to achieve its enactment in the New Jersey legislature. The bill can be found electronically at: http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/Default.asp (search S518 under bills).
The law is now in effect and requires motorists to slow down, safely change lanes if possible and operate with due caution around waste trucks when safety lights are flashing, similar to cautions motorists must now exercise when traveling through a construction work zone or when passing other stopped safety vehicles. Slow Down to Get Around is a nationwide campaign by NWRA and its state chapters.
“This law is about the safety of waste industry workers who serve our communities statewide, every day,” said, John Wohlrab, Director of Government Relations, Greater Mid Atlantic Area for Waste Management, a leader in the New Jersey chapter of NWRA. “All New Jersey motorists are now to exercise caution and must slow down to get around sanitation vehicles, which will save lives and prevent unnecessary accidents and injuries. Our focus now turns to raising awareness of the new law and educating residents of the dangers that our collectors face daily on New Jersey roadways.”
The most recent data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that the waste and recycling collection occupation ranks fifth in the nation for injuries, accidents and fatalities, and more recent data shows that many accidents involving waste and collection workers are caused by inattentive motorists and distracted driving. New Jersey now joins fourteen other states that have enacted Slow Down to Get Around, including Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa Kentucky, Michigan, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Virginia, Wisconsin and West Virginia.
In all states, NWRA encourages motorists to be aware of the roadside dangers facing sanitation workers. NWRA is asking the media, safety and transportation agencies and community leaders in New Jersey to be active in educating the general public about the new law.
The National Waste and Recycling Association is the leading organization providing leadership, advocacy, research, education and safety expertise for the waste and recycling industries. NWRA advocates at the federal, state and local levels on all issues of importance to our member companies as they provide safe, economically sustainable and environmentally sound services to communities in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
NWRA’s New Jersey chapter represents the private sector waste and recycling industry statewide. According to data compiled by NWRA the private waste and recycling industry employs nearly 3,000 people in New Jersey.
According to data compiled by NWRA, the annual economic impact to New Jersey’s state economy, generated by the waste and recycling industry is $3.8 billion. When the economic activity of the waste and recycling industry with other industries is calculated, the waste and recycling industry’s overall impact to New Jersey’s state economy is over $8.4 billion annually.
For more information about how innovation in the waste and recycling industry is helping solve New Jersey’s waste and recycling challenges, visit: www.wasterecycling.org .
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