On April 20, Iowa Governor Terry Branstad (R), signed into law new legislation that will protect workers in the waste and recycling industry.
HF314, Iowa’s version of the Slow Down to Get Around law, qualifies waste and recycling vehicles as “utility vehicles” and therefore requires motorists to slow down or move out of their way or face penalties. The bill was co-sponsored by Representative Rob Taylor (R-44) and State Senator Roby Smith (R-47.)
Iowa is now the 14th state to enact this legislation, commonly referred to as Slow Down to Get Around, which is designed to protect waste and recycling workers. The Iowa Chapter of the National Waste and Recycling Association (NWRA) took the critical steps to develop this legislation and achieve its support in the Iowa legislature.
The law goes into effect on July 1 and requires motorists to slow down, safely change lanes if possible and operate with due caution around waste and recycling trucks when safety lights are flashing, similar to cautions motorists must now exercise when traveling through a construction work zone or when passing a stopped public safety vehicle. Slow Down to Get Around is a nationwide campaign by NWRA and its state chapters.
“This law is about the safety of waste and recycling collectors who serve our communities statewide,” Lyle Vander Meiden of Midwest Sanitation, a leader in the Iowa Chapter of NWRA, said in a satement. “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 residents of the dangers that collection workers face daily on our 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. Iowa now joins twelve other states that have enacted Slow Down to Get Around, including Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Virginia, Wisconsin and West Virginia.