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Common Sense
by Carasue Moody

It amazes me that I am writing an editorial about this subject. We as drivers seem to be aware of emergency vehicles such as ambulances, fire trucks, etc. We stop or pull over to get out of their way. So, why is it that drivers fail to see a garbage truck with a person hanging off the back of the vehicle. Since we evidently are not observant we now have to pass laws to protect these workers.

How is it possible that as drivers we cannot see a large tonnage truck in our sights. If we are that unobservant we should not be driving in the first place.

The National Waste & Recycling Association just released the following; Florida Legislature Passes Important Legislation To Protect Waste and Recycling Workers. It goes on to say that the Association applauds Gov. Rick Scott for signing into law legislation aimed at preventing road accidents and fatalities involving waste and recycling workers and vehicles caused by careless drivers.

It is called the “Move Over Act”. Currently in Florida, when any vehicle approaches an emergency vehicle or tow truck, it must move over one lane. In instances where changing lanes is unsafe or the driver is traveling on a two-lane road, the driver must slow to a speed of 20 miles per hour less that the posted speed limit, unless the posted limit is 20 mph or less. In that case, the driver is required to slow to a speed of 5 mph. This law adds sanitation and utility vehicles to those covered under this act.

Being struck by motorists is a leading cause of death for waste and recycling collection employees nationwide and, with proper awareness is completely preventable. The National Waste & Recycling Association has worked to pass “Slow Down to Get Around” legislation in other states. In addition to Florida, NW&RA chapters have successfully championed such legislation in Alabama, West Virginia and Wisconsin. Michigan has passed a similar law.

The Association would like to see similar laws enacted in all states. The law should not have been necessary if but for some common sense. But since there are people out there driving that have no idea of their surrounding environment we have to enact this type of law.

So, please contact your local state representative to sponsor a new bill to protect the waste and recycling workers who they see everyday.