A garbage truck accident involving Houston drivers, pedestrians, or waste management workers can cause serious injury, even death in some circumstances. And though these vehicles don’t drive very far to get to their destination, they make frequent stops and starts, which can catch pedestrians and other motorists off guard. This risk is further exacerbated by the methodical nature of waste management jobs, which can lull workers into inattention or carelessness. And the fascinating size and machinery attached to the vehicles often encourages children to sit and marvel, which can put them in harm’s way as well. Many new vehicle models are fitted with gripping arms that pick up trash cans and empty them, and these loader arms can pose a danger. Finally, waste management remains one of the most dangerous jobs in the country, with a fatality rate near 30 per 100,000 workers, among the highest in the nation.
WHAT ARE THE MOST COMMON CAUSES OF A GARBAGE TRUCK ACCIDENT IN THE HOUSTON AREA?
Most incidents involve other motorists that may not correctly anticipate when the waste management vehicle is about to stop. However, the waste management vehicle must prevent sudden stops so as not to catch other drivers off guard. The waste management vehicles must also keep a sharp lookout for any pedestrians before moving to the next home, and failure to check for people around the vehicle remains a major factor in a lot of injury cases.
Less common, but still deadly is the loader arm that many waste management vehicles are fitted with now. Loader arms are responsible for picking up trash cans gently and emptying them. If they are not controlled properly, though, they may fling trash, debris or even the can itself, causing serious injury if they strike someone. Debris left behind may also pose a road hazard and cause a crash if it is not picked up.
Still, it’s often waste management workers that face the most serious threats to their health. Workers are expected to ride on the back or on top of the vehicle, not inside. While this makes for faster trash pickup, it also exposes workers to falls and to possibly being swept up under the vehicle. Many workers are killed and gravely injured every year when the vehicle backs into them as they are working, often without warning or any clear reason as to why the driver felt the need to reverse. Heavy machinery is always a risk, as well, and workers are occasionally pinned between the vehicle and the loading arm, struck by the arm itself or caught in trash bins that are being picked up. Limb amputations and traumatic brain injuries are common, and these injuries typically make it impossible to return to work.
When a garbage truck accident occurs in the Houston area, negligence or inattention is almost always the cause, at least in part. Workers, other drivers, and pedestrians have a legal right to pursue compensation if they are hurt by a waste management vehicle. With an attorney pushing back against a powerful waste management corporation or state funded organization, a victim might quickly get their life in order following an incident.