-NWRA Staff
September 16, 2021

NWRA Urges White House Domestic Policy Council to Coordinate Federal Response to Dangers of Mobile Phones

Arlington, VA – The National Waste & Recycling Association (NWRA) sent a letter to the White House Domestic Policy Council requesting it coordinate the federal government’s response to the dangers that mobile phones and distracted driving present to highway users in general and waste and recycling collection workers specifically. In the past, there has been a game of agency hot potato when it comes to mobile phones and the dangers that they present to drivers on our nation’s roads and highways.

“The waste and recycling industry faces an ongoing safety issue from mobile phones being used by consumers while driving. Distracted drivers cause injuries to and fatalities of waste and recycling collection workers,” said NWRA President and CEO Darrell Smith. “We urge the Domestic Policy Council to step in and coordinate the response to this issue across the federal government.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention noted that “in the U.S. in 2018, over 2,800 people were killed and an estimated 400,000 were injured in crashes involving a distracted driver. About 1 in 5 of the people who died in crashes involving a distracted driver in 2018 were not in vehicles―they were walking, riding their bikes, or otherwise outside a vehicle.”

Within the past month, NWRA requested meetings with the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) to discuss this issue. CPSC initially refused to meet with NWRA, inferring that the agency did not have jurisdiction over mobile phones, and suggested NWRA take up the issue with agencies within the federal Department of Transportation (DOT). CPSC later reversed course, and NWRA met with CPSC Chairman Robert Adler and his staff on September 8. NWRA contacted NHTSA per CPSC’s original suggestion. NHTSA responded that it was a state issue despite multiple other agencies within the DOT having addressed the issue within their domains.


The National Waste & Recycling Association (NWRA) represents the private sector waste and recycling services industry. Association members conduct business in all 50 states and include companies that manage waste, recycling and medical waste, equipment manufacturers and distributors, and various other service providers. For more information about NWRA, please visit www.wasterecycling.org.

Brandon Wright
National Waste and Recycling Association