Wisconsin Enacts Road Safety Law to Encourage Cautious Driving Near Sanitation Trucks
“Slow Down to Get Around” law increases penalties on reckless driving, aims to prevent accidents and injuries
MADISON, Wis. (July 16, 2013) — Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker yesterday signed into law a bill that doubles the minimum and maximum fines for reckless driving and certain speeding violations, with specific provisions for violations committed near sanitation vehicles.
The bill, Wisconsin Act 39 or the Slow Down to Get Around Act, was supported by the waste and recycling industry to prevent road accidents and fatalities caused by careless driving around sanitation trucks, which are a major cause of injuries to trash truck operators and sanitation workers nationwide.
“It’s critically important, for everyone’s safety, to slow down to get around garbage trucks,” said Fred Radandt, president of Manitowoc Disposal, Inc., and chair of the Wisconsin Chapter of the National Solid Wastes Management Association (NSWMA). “We applaud Governor Walker and the Wisconsin Legislature for supporting enhanced safety for motorists and for waste and recycling industry employees. Trash collection is a tough job with many challenges, and we want to be sure our workers return home safely to their families every night.”
The waste and recycling industry—along with State Rep. John Jagler (R-Watertown) and State Sen. Paul Farrow (R-Pewaukee), the initial authors of the legislation—pushed for reforms after a reckless driver gravely injured Mark Friend, a sanitation worker from Ixonia, Wis.
Friend, who is married and the father of two young boys, was pinned between two vehicles and lost his left leg after a motorist passed his garbage truck without slowing down. Friend was in a coma for two weeks, and spent an additional two months in the hospital recovering from the accident.
Friend is now an advocate for road safety. He joined Gov. Walker at the official signing of the legislation, along with his brother, Phil Friend, who is a truck driver for Advanced Disposal, and three representatives from Waste Management.
Wisconsin’s reforms echo calls for greater road safety nationwide. The Environmental Industry Associations (EIA) has championed safety for years with its “Slow Down to Get Around” national campaign, which reminds motorists to drive more carefully near solid waste collection vehicles. The NSWMA Wisconsin state chapter was instrumental in helping to inform legislators and the public of the need for the new law.