The National Waste & Recycling Association (NWRA) applauds Oklahoma legislators for championing legislation that will require motorists to slow down around garbage trucks or change lanes when it can be done safely. The new law, which was signed by Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin on April 26, will become effective on November 1. Motorists could be cited by law enforcement for violating the new law. NWRA has been working in states across the country to advocate for Slow Down to Get Around legislation, and the NWRA Oklahoma Chapter worked with committed legislators on passing this important safety measure. “This law is about the safety of refuse and recycling collectors who serve our communities statewide,” NWRA Oklahoma chapter chair Dean Matts said. “Now Oklahoma residents must slow down to get around waste and recycling vehicles—saving the lives and preventing injuries. Our focus now turns to raising awareness and educating the public of the dangers collectors face and urging them to take caution around these vehicles.”

State Representative Terry O’Donnell (R) and State Senator Don Barrington (R) sponsored HB 2449, working closely with NWRA’s Oklahoma Chapter. Recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics found that waste and recycling collection is the fifth most dangerous profession in America in terms of fatalities and injuries. Oklahoma now joins 10 other states that have enacted Slow Down to Get Around legislation, including Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, North Carolina, Virginia, Wisconsin and West Virginia. “Saving lives, preventing on-the-job injuries and making the roads in our communities safer is our top priority,” commented Kevin Kraushaar, NWRA vice president of government affairs and chapter operations. “This legislation is a key component of our multi-pronged efforts to make our industry safer, smarter, and stronger.” NWRA encourages all motorists to be aware of the dangers facing refuse collectors and exercise caution even before the law goes into effect.

NWRA is asking the media, public safety agencies and community leaders to help raise awareness of the new law. A 2014 Harris poll commissioned by NWRA found that although most Americans encounter garbage trucks on the road each week, only one-third of people slow down near them while nearly 40 percent are actually tempted to speed around them. However, the same survey also found the public supports Slow Down to Get Around legislation once they learned of the rates of accident and injury faced by waste and recycling collection workers.

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