A warning for cyclists: The sticker is intended to help prevent accidents when turning right. Photo: factum /
The waste management company is upgrading to avoid accidents with garbage trucks
District of Boblingen – He’s driving again, but only special tours: the 59-year-old employee of the district’s own waste management company (AWB) in Boblingen was slowly introduced to his old job. In November 2016, he ran over an 84-year-old man while reversing with the garbage truck in Waldenbuch. "That was a wake-up call for all drivers," says Joachim Predl, the depot manager.
Since then, the AWB has been busy improving occupational safety for truck drivers and thus also the protection of pedestrians and cyclists. The latest promotion is a sticker that indicates the garbage truck driver’s blind spot. In addition, all streets in the district have been checked for hazards when reversing. And the company invests in security technology.
According to statistics from the ADFC bicycle club, 34 cyclists died in truck turning accidents across Germany last year. Lukas Muller has also experienced dangerous situations. "When I turn right, I look in the mirror, I don’t see anyone – and suddenly there is a cyclist," says the AWB garbage truck driver. “Warning: blind spot” is therefore written on the sticker that is stuck to the right rear of the truck and is intended to warn cyclists.
“Nothing has happened so far, but I’m scared a few times,” says the 30-year-old. He can look back through three mirrors, and a screen shows what the camera at the rear is filming. When Lukas Muller is out and about in one of the two new garbage trucks, he feels safest: The vehicles are equipped with sensors on the right-hand side and emit a light signal when someone is there. “It’s a relief,” he says.
The next four new garbage trucks will be delivered in the fall, at least six of the 34 trucks will be equipped with the sensor. Retrofitting is difficult, says Wolfgang Bagin, the AWB managing director. Nevertheless, the depot currently has three different models installed in other vehicles to test them. From 2022, turning assistants will be mandatory across the EU. “We do it voluntarily beforehand,” says Wolfgang Bagin. As soon as the corresponding technology is on the market, the entire fleet of the waste management company should be retrofitted.