More states adopt traffic laws to protect refuse haulers

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A tough new traffic law in Oklahoma is designed to keep sanitation workers safe.

Drivers who do not slow down or make safe lane changes when passing garbage trucks in the Sooner State could face a $2,000 fine and up to six months in jail.

The City of Muskogee Public Works Department reminded motorists that the “Slow Down to Get Around” law went into effect on Nov. 1 and applies to all roads, according to

“This law is about the safety of waste collectors who serve our community,” said Mike Stewart, assistant city manager. “This law will save lives, prevent worker injuries, and make the roads in our community safer.”

“Slow Down to Get Around” laws are becoming more prevalent around the country. The State of New York enacted a similar traffic law protecting sanitation workers statewide also on Nov. 1, according to

Other states that now have “Slow Down to Get Around” laws include Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, North Carolina, Virginia, Wisconsin and West Virginia.

Waste and recycling collection ranks as one of the most dangerous jobs in the country.

“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,” reports.