Accidents involving garbage trucks or “trash trucks” are not always at the top of our minds, because they do not happen as frequently as other types of truck accidents in the U.S. But that does not make these types of accidents any less dangerous for the general public.
In fact, garbage truck accidents can, like so many large, heavy truck accidents, cause personal injury and even fatalities for the car drivers, pedestrians, motorcyclists, bicyclists and others involved. People who are injured by a trash truck accident can often suffer extreme injures, such as traumatic brain injury. After all, one garbage truck can weigh the same amount as five elephants.
Legal concepts like negligence and wrongful death can be involved in some garbage truck accident cases.
Typical Causes of Garbage Truck Accidents
Garbage truck-traffic accidents can be caused by any number of factors. Here are just a few that are often reported:
- Limited driver visibility
- Poor truck design
- Driver backing before looking
- Tired, overworked drivers
- Careless drivers
- Faulty backing alarms
- Oversized loads
- Driver failure to obey traffic signals
- Failure to stop at pedestrian crosswalks
- Driver failure to signal that the truck is turning
- Quick starts and stops
- Inadequate truck maintenance
- Poor-quality parts used on garbage truck repairs
- Loss of control of the garbage truck
- Garbage truck driving in the wrong lane (easing a trash pickup)
- Truck tire or wheel detaching from the truck
Garbage trucks can be dangerous for the workers who operate them, as well. Workers have been injured and killed on the job for reasons such as:
- Entering the “body” of the garbage truck during a crushing operation
- Overturning the truck in a roll-over accident
- Standing behind a backing truck
- Careless drivers of other vehicles while a worker is collecting garbage
In today’s waste management environment, most garage collection trucks are owned and managed by private companies. The private companies are under a contract with metropolitan areas to provide trash pickup for residents.
When an accident occurs, both the contracted private company and the cities who hire them can be held accountable.