CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The state Senate Judiciary Committee has passed legislation designed to protect sanitation workers who risk being struck by other vehicles while on the job.

SB 378 requires motorists to slow to 15 miles an hour when overtaking or passing a garbage truck when it is stopped and has on its flashing lights.

The committee passed the bill on to the full Senate Thursday afternoon after hearing from Tiffany Tabler from Berkeley County. Her husband, Jeremy Lee Tabler, was killed last March while collecting trash.

Mrs. Tabler told how Jeremy was standing next to the driver’s side of the vehicle when he was struck and killed by a pick-up truck coming the other way going 45 miles an hour. His death left behind a young widow and two daughters.

“The leading cause of death for waste collection employees is being struck by an oncoming vehicle,” Tabler told the committee. “Passing a law like this could actually significantly help reduce the tragedies like what we have endured.”

Bill sponsor Senator Don Cookman (D-Hampshire) said Michigan, Wisconsin and Alabama have passed similar legislation and bills are pending in Florida, Georgia and West Virginia.

“I think it’s very important that we protect these workers when they have to stop curbside and have to get out of the vehicle or off the back of the vehicle,” Cookman said.

Violators would face a misdemeanor and a fine of up to $300. The penalties increase if the speeding results in an injury to a sanitation worker.

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Comments

  • DWL

    Legislating common sense! What a waste! Maybe they need to specify that rural residential trash pickup be conducted during day light hour only, that they can only exit the truck on the left side, and that they can have no less than 2 men per truck.

    • Hillboy

      You're right. Some of this problem is on the waste collection companies. By putting only one person on a truck it requires the driver to be constantly getting in and out of the truck on the traffic side. Any company that uses only one person per truck should be required to invest in trucks with the steering wheel on the opposite side so the driver could jump in and out from the non-traffic side of the vehicle.

  • jm

    While I feel that this is a very noteworthy bill that should be made into law, I have to say that many times I have seen these workers just walk out in the street not looking, jump off the truck without looking, and even just stop the truck in the middle of the road and all of them jump out and start filling the truck with no consideration for those following.

    • curly joe

      Understood...but still a very demanding and dangerous job that none of us can do without. All public or private workers who place themselves in danger of being struck by inattentive drivers deserve protection by law.

      • I'm honest at least

        Head to toe high visibilty green clothes......