What are the Top Causes of Garbage and Sanitation Truck Accidents

Garbage and sanitation trucks are essential to keeping the streets of NYC clean and keeping clutter from accumulating. While these trucks are vital to public health, they could likewise be dangerous, even fatal.

Just this October, a garbage truck plowed into a 39-year-old woman in Brooklyn when she was crossing the street. She suffered severe injuries that left her in critical condition. In another October incident, a garbage truck crashed into a house in Sullivan County, causing extensive structural damage.

But why are all these garbage and sanitation truck accidents keep happening?

Why Garbage and Sanitation Truck Accidents Happen

According to a report by the Transform Don’t Trash NYC Coalition, serious and fatal garbage truck accidents keep happening in NYC due to driver-related and vehicle safety-related violations.

Driver Fatigue

The report found that NYC’s commercial waste system is overwhelmed with massive workloads, scattered customers, and inefficient routes. Drivers from multiple companies have reported how fatigue could easily build-up due to grueling six overnight shifts every week. Private sanitation workers are also required to finish 14 to 18 hours shifts, amounting to 60 to 80 hours per workweek.

Furthermore, an extensive ProPublica report about the NYC waste industry’s safety and labor practices, and interviews with garbage truck drivers, reveal disturbing accounts of drivers battling fatigue and eventually falling asleep while driving their routes.

The Need to Rush is Very Real

Sanitation and garbage truck drivers have reported that they must complete extremely grueling routes, which could include several hundred stops every single night. They also constantly feel the need to rush and speed up while fighting off fatigue. Reverse moves, driving on one-way roads, and speeding are common practices garbage drivers engage in to complete their routes.

Poor or Lack of Truck Maintenance

Problems with garbage truck maintenance continue to hinder drivers from performing their tasks safely. Likewise, safety violations for truck maintenance issues were found to be more common than violations related to driver error, such as unsafe driving or fitness for the job. The report also found that the top violation over the 24-month study was brake maintenance issues, with 54 cases of malfunctioning brake systems.

In addition, 19% of the maintenance violations committed by the top garbage and sanitation truck companies in NYC had severity weights or scores of seven or higher out of 10. These violations include defective lights, improperly inflated tires, bald tires, and improperly secured cargo. Besides putting the drivers and other sanitation workers at risk, these violations also endanger other road users’ safety.

Speak to a Skilled Bronx Garbage Truck Accident Attorney Now

If you suffered severe injuries and/or property damage in an NYC garbage truck accident, you might be eligible for financial compensation for all your medical bills, pain and suffering, property damage, and lost income, among others. Multiple parties, including the garbage truck driver, trucking company, and the municipality, might be held liable for your damages.

To learn more about Lipsig, Shapey, Manus & Moverman, P.C. can help with your case, call 212-285-3300 or contact us online to schedule your free appointment with our Bronx garbage truck accident.