Garbage Trucks

Houston Garbage Truck Accident Lawyer

Garbage trucks are a common sight in most urban areas, so garbage truck accidents are going to happen. These trucks perform a necessary function in this country. Sanitation workers keep our neighborhoods clean by picking up trash and other unwanted junk from our homes and businesses at least once a week.

The folks who just had their garbage taken away are happy to see the big trucks come and go, cans now empty and ready to be filled again with the coming week’s trash. Motorists on the road when a garbage truck is working its route are usually not so pleased. Getting caught behind a trash truck on a small residential street often means the car will have to eek slowly along behind the truck until the end of the block, waiting while it grabs each trash can it passes and empties it into the compacter before moving on to the next one.

Unfortunately, these necessary vehicles are often involved in accidents that result in serious injury and death. While these trucks are necessary, these accidents are not. Motorists or pedestrians that are injured by a commercial garbage truck need to speak with trained truck accident lawyers that understand this type of truck accident. Drivers of garbage trucks and their employers have special rules they must follow to ensure the safety of innocent motorists. Failure to follow these rules, or the standard rules of the road, can lead to serious accidents and injuries and subject the driver and the company to liability.

Contact us online or call us at (281) 801-5617 to learn how our garbage truck accident attorneys can help you recover compensation for your injuries. 

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:

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.

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