Police and Trash Truck Drivers are In the Front Line in Virginia
Police and trash truck drivers do dangerous and difficult jobs on the roads of Virginia and can often be in the wrong place at the wrong time when crashes occur.
Two different stories recently published in the Virginian-Pilot highlighted deaths and injuries to these employees who were in accidents they had little control over.
In the City of Chesapeake, trash and recycling collections due for Friday were made instead on Saturday to allow staff to attend the funeral of trash truck driver George Harris who was killed when his vehicle was hit by a car being pursued by police.
Meanwhile, in Miami in Florida, two police officers were injured when a student who was believed to be drunk drove her BMW into their car, the Pilot reported.
Police and State troopers are frequently killed and hurt in vehicle crashes. Recently, a crash between two cars led to a trooper death in King George County.
Harris was driving one of the City of Chesapeake’s automated side-loader garbage trucks, city officials said.
Pilot coverage of George Harris' Death
He had completed his route and was driving back to his headquarters in Greenbrier with a fully loaded truck when a crash occurred on Johnstown Road.
Harris was pronounced dead on arrival at a local hospital after both vehicles ended up in a deep ditch, according to reports. The 27-year-old driver of a Nissan who was fleeing a police stop was charged with second-degree murder.
In a media interview last week Earl Sorey, assistant director for the Department of Public Works, said there had not been a fatality in the city’s Division of Waste Management since the mid-1990s.
He said George Harris did not contribute to the accident that claimed his life.
This was a terrible tragedy that tore a family apart. Workers in trash, recycling, and garbage collection are in one of the most dangerous fields in the county. The job frequently makes the 10 most dangerous jobs list.
Police and trash truck drivers face daily hazards. Another risky profession is that of tow truck drivers. Virginia’s move over law protects workers like police and tow truck drivers.
According to safety figures, garbage workers suffer about 90 deaths annually per 100,000 workers. The most dangerous professions are logging and commercial fishing.
The high number of deaths of garbage truck drivers can be partly attributed to impatient drivers, who try to pass stopped collection vehicles and end up hitting collectors. The mortality rate is 100 times higher than what is considered acceptable risk according to James Englehardt, University of Miami professor of civil, architectural, and environmental engineering, and a lead researcher for a study noted in a Waste 360 article.
If you have lost a loved one on the highways of the Commonwealth, our Virginia wrongful death team can help you. Contact us via the loss of life pages on our website or call (757) 455-0077.