'Slow Down to Get Around' law aims to protect sanitation workers

Marcus Solis Image
Tuesday, November 1, 2016
New NY law to protect sanitation workers
Marcus Solis reports on a new law requiring drivers to slow down when passing sanitation trucks.

YONKERS, New York (WABC) -- A new law requires drivers in New York state to reduce speeds when passing sanitation vehicles, and it comes one year after a worker was hit and killed on the job.

Now, the mayor of Yonkers is working to spread the word.

Sanitation work is the fifth most dangerous occupation, as crews deal with heavy machinery, hazardous materials and aggressive motorists who are not properly respecting the flashing yellow lights. This law, called the Slow Down to Get Around law and signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo, seeks to fix that.

It took effect Tuesday and is pretty straightforward, requiring drivers to slow done when they pass a garbage or recycling truck. New York became the 12th state to enact such a law.

Workers say they because they are mostly working in the morning, they have to deal with drivers who are late to work or late to school and despise being caught behind a garbage truck. They are hopeful the law will make them safer. John Calise was hit by a car while doing his job and was out of work for 10 months.

"There are close calls out there all the time," he said. "Everybody is aggressive, everybody is in a rush, everybody is late. We just want to let the public know that we're out there. It only takes a second. Just give us a second, and we are going to get out of your way."

There is now signage on the trucks in Yonkers that indicate "slow down to get around."

"Treat that vehicle no differently than we would street a school bus, a fire truck, an ambulance or a police car," Mayor Mike Spano said. "Treat it with caution."

For now, it is an educational campaign. But there are fines and points on your license if you get written up by police.