- Biffa, a major U.K. hauler, has teamed up with the county of Staffordshire's police force to raise awareness about the dangers of motorists driving on sidewalks, as reported by CIWM.
- The Driving Recklessly on Pavements (DROPS) campaign aims to educate drivers about why they shouldn't bypass collection vehicles by going on sidewalks because workers could be injured or worse. According to Biffa, U.K. waste collectors report 30,000 incidents of reckless sidewalk driving per month.
- The company said that before this campaign about 6% of dangerous driving reports were investigated and less were actually prosecuted. New figures from last month show that one-third of 300 reported incidents led to prosecution in Staffordshire.
Biffa recognizes that no one likes getting stuck behind a collection vehicle on a narrow street and plans to reassess the timing of its routes in certain busy areas as part of the DROPS campaign. While it's inevitable that this will still happen on occasion, driving on sidewalks is not the answer as it puts both collection workers and other pedestrians at risk.
Reports of sidewalk driving may be less common in the U.S., but the risk of collection workers being hit by motorists trying to pass trucks is still high. "Slow Down to Get Around" legislation, which requires drivers to reduce their speed or change lanes when passing collection vehicles, has now become law in 12 states. This has been a key priority for trade associations and Solid Waste Association of North America CEO David Biderman told Waste Dive his organization will be working to share resources on the issue with its U.K. counterpart in the coming months.
Waste collection remains a more dangerous job than many other occupations in both the U.S. and the U.K. but some of this could be mitigated by more public awareness. Incidents of workers being attacked by residents in the U.K. or injured by chemicals left out for collection in the U.S. show that many members of the public still show little regard for the people who keep their streets clean.