Statistics on Fatal Garbage Truck Collisions
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) Large Truck Crash Causation Study, in 2017 alone, there were 2,430 crashes involving garbage trucks. Of those, 1,427 resulted in an injury, and 107 resulted in a fatality.
The Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) keeps statistics on fatal garbage truck collisions. SWANA tracks deaths among sanitation workers as well as keeping data on fatal accidents involving a waste collection vehicle and a member of the community. According to their data, in 2020, 76 public citizens within the United States and Canada lost their lives in crashes that involved a garbage truck. This number represents a slight decrease from 2019, which saw 80 deaths, and 2018 when there were 101 fatalities.
Common Causes of Garbage Truck Accidents
Like other commercial vehicles, there are many causes of commercial garbage truck accidents that pose special risks to these types of vehicles. One reason why garbage trucks are prone to collisions is that they begin operating in the early morning hours when it is still dark. Also, the trucks make frequent stops and start, often blocking roads or stopping unexpectedly, obstructing other motorists.
To add to the dangerous situation, many new vehicle models have big metal loading arms called “gripping arms” which can pick up a trash can and empty it. The technology effectively makes garbage collection easier and more efficient; unfortunately, these loader arms can be dangerous to those who come into contact with them.
When a sanitation vehicle collides with a motorist, a pedestrian, a cyclist, or anyone else, traumatic injuries usually occur. Like any large vehicle, a garbage truck can severely injure the garbage men themselves, pedestrians, and drivers of any other vehicles involved.
Additional factors that may lead to garbage truck accidents are:
- Poor truck maintenance and defective equipment
- Early morning fatigued driving
- Falling objects or unsecured loads
- Driver negligence or inattention
- Drugs or alcohol
Avoiding Garbage Truck Crashes
The National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety (NIOSH) provides excellent materials on how solid waste industry workers can take better measures to prevent diseases, injuries, and fatalities. Drivers of garbage trucks can protect the motoring public by following the special rules designed to prevent accidents and ensuring they exercise extreme caution.
Garbage truck companies must also do their part by completing required daily vehicle inspections, maintaining their fleet, and providing ongoing driver training.
Common Injuries in Garbage Truck Accidents
Unfortunately, common injuries in garbage truck accidents are catastrophic and often fatal. The force of the impact from such a massive can be extremely violent. The large size and weight of a garbage or recycling truck, especially as compared to a passenger vehicle, usually means catastrophe for any motorist unlucky enough to be hit by a trash truck. Possible injuries include:
- Severe burns
- Traumatic brain injuries and spinal cord injuries/paralysis
- Crush injuries
- Broken bones and limb amputations
As shown by the statistics, garbage truck accidents often end up being fatal, usually for the motorist whose vehicle is dwarfed by the large truck.
One of the Most Dangerous Occupations in the World
In addition to the danger trash trucks pose for others, being a garbage truck worker is one of the most dangerous occupations in the U.S., rating in the top ten most dangerous occupations for decades. According to a 611-page report by the United States Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration which details waste collector employee accidents causing injury and death, workers have been.
A chart posted by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) called “Civilian occupations with high fatal work injury rates 2020” shows sanitation workers to have the fifth highest fatality rate with 33.1 fatal work injuries occurring out of every 100,000 garbagemen.
An article posted in Recycling Today says a recent press release from the Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) said that, as of the date of the article, January 23, 2019, at least 17 fatal incidents have occurred relating to the solid waste industry in the U.S. and Canada in 2019. SWANA is calling for a renewed focus on safety in response to what it calls an “unprecedented uptick in fatalities.”
Contact our Houston Garbage Truck Attorneys Today
If you or a family member were injured or killed in a garbage truck accident, it is important to speak with trained commercial vehicle accident attorneys that understand the special rules and regulations garbage truck drivers and their companies must adhere to. A company or driver that fails to follow these special rules risks the lives of innocent motorists. Motorists injured by such actions can bring a claim and recover compensation for their injuries. Contact us today to learn how we can help you.
Our Houston garbage truck accident lawyers are prepared to fight for you. Call us at (281) 801-5617 or contact us online to learn how we can help you recover compensation after a truck accident.