- New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has signed Senate Bill 426B into law, commonly known as "Slow Down to Get Around" or the "Move Over Law."
- The law was inspired by the death of collection worker Sean Tilghman last year and passed by the state legislature in June. It will take effect in November.
- Collection trucks will now be classified as "hazard vehicles" when collecting waste on public roads. As a result drivers will be required to change lanes or slow down when passing the vehicles, as is already required for police and fire vehicles.
New York is now the twelfth state to pass such a law, joining Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Virginia, Wisconsin and West Virginia. This particular law came about with the support of multiple industry representatives, labor groups and elected officials.
"This law is about the safety of waste and recycling collectors who serve our communities statewide," said Steve Changaris, New York State chapter manager for NWRA, in a statement. “Now all motorists are to exercise caution and must slow down to get around waste and recycling vehicles, which will save lives and prevent unnecessary accidents and injuries. Our focus now turns to raising awareness of the new law and educating New Yorkers of the dangers that collection workers face daily on our roadways.”
Other industry leaders also recognized the importance of having this law in one of the nation's biggest states.
"As a former New Yorker, I admit that we can sometimes be impatient or impolite on the road, and having this law on the books will hopefully help to change some of those behaviors in relation to waste or recycling collection vehicles," said David Biderman, CEO of the Solid Waste Association of North America, in an emailed statement. "If we can prevent another senseless accident, such as what happened to Sean Tilghman last year, our efforts will be worth it."
Waste collection remains one of the most demanding and dangerous jobs in the country. Any law that can help make the job a little safer for workers is a positive step toward fixing that.