Philly Sanitation Truck Drivers Avoid Discipline for Accidents

January 8, 2020

A recent traffic incident in Philadelphia highlighted an ongoing crisis with the city’s sanitation trucks. A driver was behind the wheel of a 32-foot-long truck on Pine Street, with two workers collecting recyclables from street curbs. It was raining at the time and the slow-moving truck created a line of traffic. A driver in a Toyota RAV4 attempted to pass in the bike lane. As she was doing so, the truck driver got out of his cabin and yelled at her to stop, but she kept going.

Philadelphia has a notorious record for sanitation truck accidents, with 2,000 recorded since June 2015. The city’s fleet averages about one a day, totaling around 440 per year. Even though New York City’s population is six times more than Philadelphia’s, they only have three times as many accidents.

The Philadelphia Inquirer described the sanitation driver’s record, stating that he had been involved in 19 accidents over the past 4.5 years. Out of these, eight were preventable, meaning that they were his fault. He had five accidents in 2016 alone, with two occurring in the same month. In 2017, he hit a 48-year-old disabled man, then got into another crash the next day. Although Philadelphia Streets Department rules require that drivers with two preventable accidents in the same month or four in the same year be dismissed or demoted, the city has not done so in recent years.

Why Sanitation Trucks are Dangerous

These large trucks are difficult to maneuver because they have large blind spots and do not turn easily. Although they are a necessity of modern life, their poor visibility and heavy weight present safety issues to other drivers, bicyclists, motorcyclists, and pedestrians. Their movements can be unpredictable since they stop often and back up and move forward repeatedly. Even when drivers are trained to drive these cumbersome trucks, the trucks often start moving without warning. This erratic driving is a common cause for accidents, and someone can end up with devastating injuries from a sanitation truck accident.

Although it is harder for these trucks to make their way through crowded city streets, they also pose dangers wherever they pick up trash and recyclables. Speeding down a suburban street is hazardous, especially when there are more families with young children outside.

Making a Claim

Litigation in these types of crashes can be complex since there may be several insurance companies and policies involved. In a large city like Philadelphia, the truck may be insured by the city. Expert testimony and witnesses may be needed to determine liability, and in these cases, it may be best to contact an experienced truck accident lawyer.

Cherry Hill Truck Accident Lawyers at DiTomaso Law Fight for Victims of Sanitation Truck Accidents

It is smart to keep a safe distance from sanitation trucks, but accidents will happen, and we are here to help. If you were injured in a truck accident, contact the Cherry Hill truck accident lawyers at DiTomaso Law today. For a free consultation, call us at 856-414-0010 or complete our online form. Located in Cherry Hill, New Jersey and Philadelphia, we serve clients throughout southeastern Pennsylvania and South Jersey, including Mt. Holly, Camden County, and Vineland.