On May 1, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signed into law new legislation that will protect those who work in the waste and recycling industry.
A-4452/S-518, New Jersey’s version of the Slow Down to Get Around law, provides waste industry workers with the same type of slow down protections around their vehicles as police, ambulance workers and other emergency personnel have around their vehicles. The bill was sponsored by Senator Jennifer Beck (R-11) and Assembly Members Joann Downey (D-11), Eric Houghtaling (D-11), Daniel Benson (D-14) and Raj Mukherji (D-33.)
New Jersey is now the 15th state to enact this legislation, often referred to as Slow Down to Get Around, which is designed to protect waste and recycling workers. The New Jersey chapter of the National Waste and Recycling Association (NWRA) took critical steps to develop this legislation and then worked hand-in-hand with industry members to achieve its support in the New Jersey legislature.
“This law is about the safety of waste industry workers who serve our communities statewide, every day,” said John Wohlrab of Greater Mid Atlantic Area for Waste Management, a leader in the New Jersey chapter of NWRA, in a statement. “All New Jersey motorists are now to exercise caution and must slow down to get around sanitation vehicles, which will save lives and prevent unnecessary accidents and injuries. Our focus now turns to raising awareness of the new law and educating residents of the dangers that our collectors face daily on New Jersey roadways.”
The most recent data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that the waste and recycling collection occupation ranks fifth in the nation for injuries, accidents and fatalities, and more recent data shows that many accidents involving waste and collection workers are caused by inattentive motorists and distracted driving. New Jersey now joins fourteen other states that have enacted Slow Down to Get Around, including Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Virginia, Wisconsin and West Virginia.