Slow Down to Get Around waste and recycling vehicles

Austin Resource Recovery worker drives green curbside truck.

By Allison Strupeck 

When you think of dangerous jobs, what comes to mind? Perhaps police officer, firefighter, or jobs that go outside of the big city like loggers or deep-sea fishermen.  

But there’s another job around town you might not have guessed that's considered a dangerous job: waste and recycling collection workers. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, this field of work has high risks associated with it, which we at Austin Resource Recovery take steps to mitigate and eliminate altogether.

What makes the job dangerous?

Oftentimes, it’s a collision. On a given day, these humble heroes are at risk of being struck by a distracted or careless driver while collecting carts from their trucks. Until a few years ago, there were no legal protections established to attempt to reduce these avoidable collisions. But thanks to a 2019 law, one that mimics rules requiring drivers to slow down for first responders and construction workers, our waste and recycling collection workers at Austin Resource Recovery have more protection.

The law, also known as “Slow Down to Get Around,” is a national safety campaign reminding drivers to be cautious when passing near waste and recycling collection vehicles. To date, more than 30 states have adopted Slow Down to Get Around to help protect these workers!

Of those 30, Texas holds a spot. Our state proudly joined the effort in 2019 by amending §545.157 of the Texas Transportation Code. So, when you're driving and approach a waste or recycling vehicle in service in the Lone Star State, be sure to slow down to 20 mph (or less if the speed limit is already low) and stay alert around collection vehicles and staff. Failing to do so is a misdemeanor punishable by a $500 fine or more. Don’t say we didn’t tell you so!

At the end of the day, we ask Austin to keep our vehicle operators at Austin Resource Recovery safe by doing their part and slowing down to get around.  Stay safe!