Slow down for sirens, lights … and garbage trucks

Mike Daugherty - Contributing columnist

When my brother and I were little, Mom said we should never play in the street.

That was one of the big rules. She made the consequences so vivid that my we were scared to even step off the curb.

A speeding car would certainly smash us into a million pieces. The really gross parts of us would be smeared all over the street.

And that was nothing compared to the physical pain we would endure later from her. It was ominous.

It surprised me to learn later that some folks worked in the street every day. In fact, there are lots of people who brave the terrors of stepping into traffic every day of their lives.

In Ohio, the law has always required us to slow down for police cars, ambulances, and fire trucks. We “go right for sirens and lights.” If we see an emergency vehicle parked along the road, we are required to slow down and use caution when passing it.

This helps protect the people who have to work on the street — police officers, firefighters, and paramedics need to be protected while they do their jobs.

Well, as of Oct.31, 2018, we are finally protecting the people who collect our trash.

Just like the first responders, they have to work in the street every day. Just like the first responders, they should be protected from cars while doing their jobs.

Soon, you will see caution lights on garbage trucks — what the new law calls “waste collection vehicles.”

We all need to SLOW DOWN when passing them on the road.

This is very important. In July, a garbage truck driver was killed in Middletown by a driver who did not slow down. Last month, four people were killed in Vinton County when their car hit a garbage truck. We should all take this seriously.

The penalty for not slowing for a stopped waste collection vehicle is steep. The fine is up to $300 plus costs. If you do it a second time within a year you can go to jail for up to a month.

This is serious.

You can obey this law by simply slowing down when you see a garbage truck. Stop behind them. Look for the driver. Proceed with caution.

That driver is probably somebody’s daddy.

No matter how busy you are, he deserves to go home too.

Mike Daugherty is Judge of the Clinton County Municipal Court.

Mike Daugherty

Contributing columnist