Inspired by a sanitation worker who lost his leg in an accident, two Wisconsin legislators introduced legislation designed to get other drivers to drive more carefully around garbage trucks.
State Representative John Jagler (R-Watertown) and State Senator Paul Farrow (R-Pewaukee) introduced legislation last week that would double the minimum and maximum forfeitures for certain speeding violations and the minimum and maximum forfeitures or fines for reckless driving violations committed where sanitation workers are at risk from traffic and the driver knows or should know that sanitation workers are present.
These bills were spurred by a January 5, 2012, accident in Stoughton, Wis., involving Mark Friend, a 36-year-old sanitation worker from Ixonia. For an hour that morning, Friend was pinned between his garbage truck and the car of a 21-year-old driver who, according to police reports, never slowed down. Friend was in a coma for two weeks and doctors had to amputate his left leg. He left the hospital after two months and is now recovering at home. He is still dealing with internal and external injuries from the accident.
Just six months before, during his 2012 campaign, Friend told then-candidate Jagler that he was worried that it was just a matter of time before he or one of his co-workers got hurt.
The Wisconsin chapter of the National Solid Wastes Management Association, the association representing the private-sector solid waste and recycling industry, supports Assemblyman Jagler's and Senator Farrow's bills.