On July 15, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker signed Wisconsin Act 39, a law based on the Environmental Industry Associations's national “Slow Down to Get Around” campaign.
The law doubles the minimum and maximum fines for reckless driving and certain speeding violations, with specific provisions for violations committed near solid waste vehicles. Accidents and fatalities caused by careless driving are a major cause of injuries to refuse truck operators and collections workers nationwide.
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 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.
He's now an advocate for road safety. He joined the governor at the legislation's signing along with his brother, Phil Friend, who is a truck driver for Advanced Disposal, and three Waste Management representatives.
“It’s critically important, for everyone’s safety, to slow down to get around garbage trucks,” says Fred Radandt, president of Manitowoc Disposal Inc. and chair of the Wisconsin Chapter of the National Solid Wastes Management Association. “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.”