Two-Thirds of Americans Won’t Slow Down Around Garbage Trucks, NWRA Survey Finds
Nearly 40 percent are tempted to dangerously speed around them
WASHINGTON, March 30, 2015 /3BL Media/ — A new survey suggests that although most Americans encounter garbage trucks on the road each week, only a 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.
“Americans need to know that when working around inattentive motorists, collecting waste and recyclables can be dangerous," said Sharon H. Kneiss, president and CEO of the National Waste & Recycling Association. “Drivers need to slow down to get around garbage trucks.”
Despite the very risky behavior of the general driving public, research shows that they strongly support doing something about the problem. Eighty-five percent agree with the statement: “I am in favor of laws protecting garbage collectors on this country’s roadways.” Once they are informed of the BLS data on fatalities, 90 percent are in favor, with nearly half (48 percent) strongly in favor.
“NWRA is making strides in various states to make these laws a reality. The Association’s Slow Down to Get Around campaign has promoted legislation to protect waste workers in the field,” said Kneiss. “Through education and increased penalties for distracted drivers and careless drivers, the SDTGA movement will make it safer for the industry’s workers to get their jobs done in American communities. “
Additional major findings of the survey include:
- Less than one-in-ten (8%) Americans believes that garbage collection has the highest fatality rate among the four professions listed. (46% selected firefighting, 43% chose police work, and 3% think paramedic work has the highest fatality rate).
- Garbage trucks ARE noticed. Nearly nine-in-ten (88%) see garbage trucks on the road at least once a week, and one-in-six (16%) Americans see garbage trucks on the road every day.
- Americans are tempted to speed around garbage trucks more than any other kind of service vehicle, with nearly two in five (38%) admitting this. Distant second is a school bus (8%), followed by a police car and fire truck (both 3%), an ambulance (2%), and other service vehicles (8%). Men are more likely than women to admit to being tempted to speed around garbage trucks they encounter on the road (42% vs. 34%, respectively).
- This disregard extends to slowing down around garbage trucks. Only about one-third (32%) of Americans slow down around garbage trucks. Far more Americans hit the brakes around ambulances (77%), police cars (76%), fire trucks (72%), and school buses (69%).
- A majority (85%) of Americans are in favor of laws protecting garbage collectors, with one-third (33%) strongly agreeing with the statement “I am in favor of laws protecting garbage collectors on this country’s roadways” BEFORE being told garbage collection has the highest fatality rate.
- AFTER they’re told, 90% indicated they were in favor of laws protecting garbage collectors, with over two-in-five (48%) now strongly agreeing with the statement
This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Poll on behalf of the National Waste & Recycling Association from Nov. 11-13, 2014, among 2,012 adults ages 18 and older. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey results and methodology, including weighting variables, please go to this link.
To contact your local legislator – this link will help you determine who represents you locally. Slow Down to Get Around laws currently exist in Alabama, Florida, Michigan, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. Efforts to enact laws are pending in several states.