In conjunction with its 20th annual statewide Trash Can Open gathering of more than 100 industry representatives, the Indiana Chapter of the National Waste & Recycling Association (NWRA) today has kicked off efforts to urge motorists to become familiar with and obey a new law that goes into effect on July 1 that requires drivers to change lanes if possible or slow down to at least ten (10) miles per hour below the posted speed limit when passing a sanitation truck or risk a penalty of up to $500. Last month, Indiana Governor Mike Pence, signed House Bill 1305 to protect waste and recycling collection workers on the state’s roadways.
State Representatives Greg Beumer (R-Modoc) and Jud McMillin (R-Brookville), and State Senator Jeff Raatz (R-Centerville) championed this legislation and worked closely with NWRA’s Indiana chapter to achieve this victory for the industry’s workers. Indiana now joins eight other states that have enacted Slow Down to Get Around legislation including Wisconsin, North Carolina, West Virginia, Florida, Georgia, Virginia, Michigan and Alabama.
Motorists are asked to be aware of this important change in the law and to exercise caution when they are approaching or are driving near a waste or recycling vehicle. NWRA is asking the media, public safety agencies and community leaders to help amplify awareness of the new law.
“NWRA applauds Indiana’s lawmakers for enacting Slow Down to Get Around. This law will save lives, prevent on the job injuries and makes the roads in our communities safer. We hope the media and public safety partners in the state will spread the word to ensure all motorists are observing the law,” said Sharon H. Kneiss, president and CEO of NWRA. “Increased awareness, combined with consequences makes it safer for our industry’s workers to get their jobs done as they serve Indiana’s communities.“
A 2014 Harris poll commissioned by NWRA found that although most Americans encounter garbage trucks on the road each week, only one-third of people slow down near them while nearly 40 percent are actually tempted to speed around them. The survey also found that most Americans believe that police officers and firefighters have deadlier jobs despite the fact the waste and recycling collectors have higher fatality rates than these other public service professions, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data.
“The safety of waste and recycling workers impacts all Indiana businesses and residents,” said Terry Guerin, chairman of the Indiana Chapter of the NWRA, and government affairs representative for Balkema Solid Waste Operations, which serves Indiana and Kentucky. “Our employees work hard in our communities and need to be protected and kept safe. We expect all Indiana residents to do their part to promote safety by slowing down to get around.”
The National Waste & Recycling Association is the leading organization providing leadership, advocacy, research, education and safety expertise for the waste and recycling industries. NWRA advocates at the Federal, State and Local levels on all issues of importance to our member companies as they provide safe, economically sustainable and environmentally sound services to communities in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
The Indiana Chapter of NWRA represents the private sector waste and recycling industry statewide. According to data compiled by NWRA, in Indiana, the private waste and recycling industry employs nearly 8,000 people, has a total annual payroll of nearly $370 million, generates annual revenue of $3.1 billion, and the average annual compensation for industry employees is $46,851. The annual economic impact to Indiana’s economy, generated by the waste and recycling industry is $1.7 billion. When the activity of the waste and recycling industry with other industries is calculated, overall impact to the state economy of the waste and recycling industry in Indiana is over $3.3 billion annually.
For more information about how innovation in the waste and recycling industry is helping solve today’s environmental challenges, visit wasterecycling.org.