- On Monday morning, Fairfax, VA hosted a Slow Down to Get Around outreach event that garnered attendance from SWANA staff, Virginia government officials, Fairfax County Department of Public Works and Environmental Service employees, and more representatives from across the waste & recycling industry. The event highlighted the importance of Slow Down to Get Around with remarks and testimonials from various industry leaders.
- Governor Terry McAuliffe signed the state's Slow Down to Get Around law in July 2015, requiring drivers to change lanes and slow down to at least 10 miles per hour below the posted speed limit when passing a garbage truck. Failure to do so could result in a $250 fine.
- "I urge all drivers to think of waste and recycling trucks, not as an obstacle to go around quickly, but as having someone's son, father, husband, or brother on or near it. We stop for school busses. We need to slow down around garbage trucks," said SWANA CEO David Biderman, a keynote speaker at the event.
Slow Down to Get Around has been in the works for more than a decade, after an increase in distracted driving and waste collection incidents caused a need for the law in the Midwest. Today, the law spans across 11 states: Virginia, Indiana, West Virginia, Florida, Wisconsin, Georgia, Michigan, Alabama, North Carolina, Oklahoma, and Illinois.
The law has been about more than just having drivers slow down around trucks; it's been about reducing the ominous fatality rate of the industry. Recently, the Bureau of Labor Statistics finalized its 2014 Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries data, confirming that refuse and recyclable material collection is the fifth most fatal occupation—despite fatalities being down from 33 in 2013 to 27 in 2014. SWANA plans to collect and analyze its own data of worksite accidents and injuries in a newly announced confidential survey.
"We shouldn't need luck for sanitation workers to go home safely each night," said John Foust of the Dranesville District of Fairfax County at the event.
In order to boost awareness of Slow Down To Get Around, SWANA has offered free decals to its members, upon request, which are to go onto the back of the collection trucks.