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Steve Brooks reviewing a client's case in his Winter Haven Office - Brooks Law Group

Brooks Law Legal Blog

When Safety Gets the Trash Treatment

Categories:Auto Accidents, Wrongful Death

What Happens When Safety is Taken Out With the Trash? - Brooks Law Group

The average garbage truck weighs around 64,000 pounds, or 32 tons. If you were to combine more than 16 cars together, you’d be close to your average garbage truck. That is some serious weight and it’s more than enough to do some tragic damage. I would think maintaining every possible safety measure on these hulking metal giants would be priority number one, wouldn’t you?

Based on the state of the City of Tampa garbage trucks, I must be wrong.

A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog post on the tragic passing of a retired teacher from Davis Islands. After weeks of police investigation, some startling new information has come out that may shed some light on what happened.

So What Happened?

For those of you have may not have read my post on the story, or any news articles about it, I’ll give you a short recap. Marcia Rivers, 65, was a retired school teacher who lived on Davis Islands. In June, Marcia was struck and killed by a City of Tampa garbage truck only a few hundred feet from her apartment. She was hit while the truck was backing out of a driveway between two buildings. This truly was a tragic accident, and my heart goes out to her family. But how does something like this happen?

Marcia Rivers suffered from some hearing loss, but she was wearing her hearing aids on June 26th, the day of the accident.

There are many safety features on your standard garbage truck. On the Tampa trucks, there are reverse lights, backup cameras, backup alarms, and more. This should be plenty to warn any nearby pedestrians to stay back. The real question is, were they working?

No Safety Measures Here

On June 19th, a week before the accident, a solid waste driver noted that the truck they were driving had multiple equipment failures. A note they wrote stated that there were no reverse lights, no backup camera, no backup alarm, and no marker lights on the back of their truck. It was this same truck that would kill Marcia Rivers several days later.

According to the director of Tampa’s Department of Solid Waste and Environmental Program Management, the department that manages the trucks, most of these issues were resolved that same day. Notably, the backup alarm was not.

Drivers are also expected to inspect their trucks and complete a log prior to starting their day. The driver behind the wheel on June 26th, when Marcia was killed, did not complete a log that day.

Were the backup cameras working that day? That same truck has had two prior backup camera repairs this year alone.  Was the backup alarm functioning? It was never mentioned in the notes of the mechanic who saw in on the 19th. These questions are still being investigated by police.

The Aftermath

Since the accident, the city of Tampa called in several trucks known to have maintenance issues, and they also made repairs to multiple vehicles’ backup cameras. Of these trucks, three needed backup cameras to be repaired, and six of them had backup alarms that didn’t work well or weren’t working at all.

There were several more trucks found with substantial issues - Brooks Law Group

Before the accident, there were several 32-ton metal giants roaming the streets of Tampa without the proper safety measures. I don’t know about you, but I found that shocking. I hope that the city has learned a valuable lesson about how important basic safety is. It’s tragic that it took an accident like this to make repairs that should have been done long ago. That’s also why it’s important we watch out for ourselves, because sometimes others won’t.

Contact Brooks Law Group

If you or a loved one has been injured because of someone else’s negligence, turn to a law firm you can trust. At Brooks Law Group, our clients will always come first. If others won’t look out for your safety, we’ll fight to get you the compensation you deserve. In everything we do, we’re dedicated to providing the best client experience possible, and if we don’t recover money for you, then you don’t owe us anything. So why wait? Call Brooks Law Group at 1-800-LAW-3030 today for a free consultation.

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