- NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio began a movement, Vision Zero, to improve traffic safety along various departments in the city, including the Department of Sanitation. As a part of the movement, waste collector Action Catering is investing in driver and fleet safety, having installed various technologies on its vehicles and implemented driver programs to reduce injury and accidents involving its 100 New York-based trucks. The vehicles run in the dark, picking up 37 tons of trash per night.
- The company invested in "3rd Eye" cameras that when triggered — for instance from abrupt G-force or lane deviation — generate an alert and pass data to Action Carting. The cameras also pass along with a video of the driver which is used as a training and prevention tool.
- Vehicle safeguards from DuraGuard protect pedestrians and bicyclists. Action Catering facilitates 10 days of driver training before sending drivers on the road on their own, as well as an award program to recognize safe drivers.
Large trash trucks are not easy to maneuver, and drivers spend long hours doing dangerous work on busy roads with distracted drivers. This is why more trash collectors are investing in safety — from fleet features like low-maintenance collection barrels which cut down on casualties as haulers collect refuse, to safety summits like those held by WASTECON on topics such as roadside vehicle inspections.
Still, safety comes with a cost. Although the potential expense of occupational hazards is even higher, Ken Levine, Action Catering’s corporate safety director, would like to see outside financial support, particularly for expensive safety technology.
"I think more fleets would consider [safety technology] if they got tax credits from insurance carriers or the government," he said at Vision Zero's NYC forum last week.