Trenton, NJ – On May 1st, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (R), signed into law legislation that will protect workers in the waste and recycling industry. A-4452/S-518, New Jersey’s version of the Slow Down to Get Around law, affords waste industry workers the same kinds of slow down protections around their vehicles as afforded police, ambulance workers and other emergency personnel around their vehicles. The legislation was sponsored by Senator Jennifer Beck (R-11); and, Assembly Members Joann Downey (D-11), Eric Houghtaling (D-11), Daniel Benson (D-14) and Raj Mukherji (D-33.)   

New Jersey is now the fifteenth state to enact this vital legislation, commonly referred to as Slow Down to Get Around, which is designed to protect waste and recycling workers. The New Jersey chapter of the National Waste and Recycling Association (NWRA) took critical steps to develop this legislation nationally and then worked hard with industry members to achieve its enactment in the New Jersey legislature. The bill can be found electronically at: 

 http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/Default.asp  (search S518 under bills).

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The law is now in effect and requires motorists to slow down, safely change lanes if possible and operate with due caution around waste trucks when safety lights are flashing, similar to cautions motorists must now exercise when traveling through a construction work zone or when passing other stopped safety vehicles. Slow Down to Get Around is a nationwide campaign by NWRA and its state chapters.

“This law is about the safety of waste industry workers who serve our communities statewide, every day,” said, John Wohlrab, Director of Government Relations, Greater Mid Atlantic Area for Waste Management, a leader in the New Jersey chapter of NWRA. “All New Jersey motorists are now to exercise caution and must slow down to get around sanitation vehicles, which will save lives and prevent unnecessary accidents and injuries. Our focus now turns to raising awareness of the new law and educating residents of the dangers that our collectors face daily on New Jersey roadways.”

The most recent data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that the waste and recycling collection occupation ranks fifth in the nation for injuries, accidents and fatalities, and more recent data shows that many accidents involving waste and collection workers are caused by inattentive motorists and distracted driving. New Jersey now joins fourteen other states that have enacted Slow Down to Get Around, including Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa Kentucky, Michigan, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Virginia, Wisconsin and West Virginia.

In all states, NWRA encourages motorists to be aware of the roadside dangers facing sanitation workers. NWRA is asking the media, safety and transportation agencies and community leaders in New Jersey to be  active in educating the general public about the new law.