Among the city’s largest commercial waste haulers, two-thirds of safety inspections resulted in at least one violation over the last two years

27% of private commercial waste vehicles have received at least one red light camera violation and the vehicles have an average age of 9 years, far greater than the age of municipal waste trucks

Comptroller Stringer continues his support for a zoned collection system that prioritizes safety on our streets and the well-being of workers

(New York, NY) — Today, Comptroller Stringer released a concerning new report, Unsafe Sanitation: An Analysis of the Commercial Waste Industry’s Safety Record. The analysis examines safety inspection and traffic records relating to the commercial garbage industry. The report shows how aging truck fleets, failed vehicle inspections, and traffic violations among 273 commercial waste haulers compromise public safety.

“There must be a comprehensive and transformative solution to fix the commercial waste industry. Commercial garbage trucks are overrunning our communities, choking the air with smog and endangering our families,” said Comptroller Stringer. “We need a zoned system that prioritizes higher safety and wage standards for workers and will hold commercial waste companies accountable to those standards.”

Key findings from the report include:

  • Despite their heavy workload and demanding yearly mileage, the average commercial waste truck is more than nine years old. In contrast, the average vehicle age of garbage trucks owned by the City’s Department of Sanitation is 5.9 years. Among common “rear end loader” trucks, which are typically used for curbside trash collection, 82 are 20 years or older and 11 rear end loaders are 30 years or older.
  • Among the city’s top 20 commercial waste haulers, two-thirds of random, roadside safety inspections resulted in at least one violation in the last two years and 20 percent of inspections produced five or more violations. These violations are not cosmetic – the most commonly issued violation related to defects in a truck’s brakes.
  • A shocking 27 percent of commercial waste vehicles have been issued at least one red light camera violation and 14 percent have received at least one school speed zone camera violation since 2007.
  • In the last two years, the top 20 licensed commercial waste haulers in New York City reported 73 serious crashes, including five fatalities.

Comptroller Stringer has long supported the implementation of a zoned system for commercial waste disposal. Research shows that a zoned system could reduce vehicle miles traveled by 49 to 68 percent and cut emissions by 42 percent to 64 percent – drastically reducing the noxious pollution pumped out by sanitation trucks. Additionally, strong safety standards and better labor protections could reduce accidents.

To read the full report, click here.