Ohio may force drivers to ‘move over’ for garbage trucks


Kenny Lawson painfully recalls the March morning in 1996 when a driver in Kettering drove straight into the rear of his trash truck, pinning him in between. Lawson lost both his legs.

A bill, heading for a vote in the Ohio House, would prevent deaths and injuries to waste and recycling haulers such as Lawson.

RELATED: ‘Too many people have been hurt’ by not moving over for cops, FOP says

The proposal to place a “move over” requirement on drivers encountering trash trucks with flashing lights — as currently required for public safety vehicles — was approved by the House Government Accountability and Oversight Committee Wednesday. It was approved in October by the Senate, 32-0.

“People just don’t pay attention,” said Lawson, who was then 25 and working in the family waste business when he was hit. “We try to prepare and keep ourselves safe out there, but without this law they just come flying up on the trucks anyway.”

The new law would require drivers to proceed with caution and change to a lane away from a waste collection vehicle if traveling on a roadway with multiple lanes in the same direction. And regardless of the lane count, a driver must proceed with caution and maintain a speed safe for road, weather and traffic conditions.

Under the proposal, a driver found to violate the move-over requirement can face a minor misdemeanor moving violation charge and a fine up to $300 plus court costs.

RELATED: 2 injured in crash between car, trash truck in Clay Twp.

Lawson, now 47 and living in Germantown, was injured on Stroop Road, which has two lanes running each direction.

James Profitt, a Solid Waste Association of North America safety ambassador who lives in Miami Twp., told Lawson’s story to legislators last year.

“This incident occurred on a four-lane road and could have been prevented had the driver simply slowed down and moved over,” Profitt wrote. “This is only one of many tragedies that have occurred in the waste industry.”

A single garbage truck can make 600-900 stops a day, according to the National Waste and Recycling Association. Similar legislation has passed in 16 states including Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, New York and West Virginia, according to the organization.

PHOTOS: Car hits garbage truck in Springfield

Refuse and recycling collectors have the fifth highest death rate among civilian occupations in the country, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In 2016, 31 died — about two-thirds the result of transportation incidents.

“If we can save one life out there or even keep one person from getting paralyzed, then we’ve done what we needed to do,” said Lawson.



Reader Comments


Next Up in Politics

Democrats try to pick up pieces after election defeats; more asking question: Is Ohio a red state?
Democrats try to pick up pieces after election defeats; more asking question: Is Ohio a red state?

Democrats in Ohio couldn’t match the gains the party made in other states, and now some observers are wondering if the state itself should be colored in a deep shade of red. That has implications beyond politics, because Ohio has long benefited from its swing-state reputation, which brings candidates, media attention and increased spending to...
New rules in Ohio could close some child care businesses
New rules in Ohio could close some child care businesses

More than two-thirds of the providers in southwest Ohio who serve families with publicly funded child care are at risk of losing the ability to accept state funds when new rules go into effect in 18 months, a Dayton Daily News investigation found. The new rules and rating system were aimed at exposing more children to enrichment programs and educational...
Ohio lawmakers vote to ban late-term abortion procedure
Ohio lawmakers vote to ban late-term abortion procedure

The Ohio House on Thursday voted 62-27 to outlaw abortions performed by dilation and evacuation, a procedure commonly used to terminate pregnancies between 13 and 24 weeks gestation. Senators quickly agreed to House changes, setting up the bill to be delivered to Gov. John Kasich for consideration. In 2017, 3,441 D&E abortions were performed in Ohio...
Ohio Gov.-Elect Mike DeWine meets with President Donald Trump
Ohio Gov.-Elect Mike DeWine meets with President Donald Trump

Joining 12 other newly elected governors at the White House Thursday, Gov.-elect Mike DeWine said President Donald Trump “listened very carefully and was very engaging” as they talked about constructing new roads and bridges, combating drugs, and keeping Lake Erie clean. “There wasn’t much contention in there,” DeWine...
Ohio lawmakers vote to give themselves a pay raise
Ohio lawmakers vote to give themselves a pay raise

Ohio lawmakers, the governor and other elected leaders would be in line for a pay raise under a bill approved by the Ohio House on Thursday. The bill still needs to be signed by Gov. John Kasich to be come law but the governor expressed distaste for the pay raises, especially since they are coming during the lame duck session. On Thursday, the governor...
More Stories