A debate has emerged in New York City regarding the safety of commercial haulers. Both sides say they ultimately have the same goal: to improve safety in the waste and recycling industry and to remove the industry from the most dangerous jobs list. But the emphasis on how to get there is divergent. And the discussion on safety ties into another thorny issue: the establishment of commercial zones in the city.
The issue was thrust in the limelight after a union-backed group issued a new report saying poorly maintained trucks present the biggest hazard for the industry. And, ultimately, the group is tying safety to a proposal to establish commercial waste collection zones. Industry groups—including both associations—are pushing a comprehensive approach to safety, which includes promoting best practices for drivers and promoting awareness of the dangers posed by distracted drivers, pedestrians and other external hazards. There is also opposition to the establishment of commercial franchising zones.