NYPD Says it Will Finally Crack Down on Rogue Carting Companies

Photo: Daily Mail
Photo: Daily Mail

The NYPD has launched a weeklong crackdown on the “reckless” private carting industry — which has caused at least 20 fatalities since just 2016, police said.

NYPD Chief of Department Terence Monahan said the citywide enforcement effort — which began Sunday night — was necessary because the private sanitation industry’s “constant disregard for the law has proven fatal.”

“We [have] found a staggering number of violations [such as] not yielding to pedestrians, traveling at excessive speeds, and going the wrong way on streets,” he said. With such practices, he added, “these 50,000-pound trucks become death traps.

“We will not tolerate people getting being killed crossing the street,” he added.

A recent one-night enforcement push in two precincts, yielded 47 violations, the NYPD said.

Monahan said he expected carting companies to “make sure their drivers are properly trained to obey the law.”

“If they don’t,” he added, “they will face consequences.”

NYPD officers have been writing summonses to private carting companies — an increase this year of 182 percent over last year, according to Chief Thomas Chan, head of the NYPD Transportation unit — but there have still been four fatalities this year linked to the industry, he said.

And non-fatal crashes are up, too, Streetsblog has reported.

Chief of Department Terence Monahan
Chief of Department Terence Monahan at Monday’s enforcement announcement.

Much of the recent attention to the industry has come after an Action Carting driver ran over and killed Greenpoint restaurant worker Neftaly Ramirez in July, 2017. Investigations by ProPublica and The Brooklyn Paper revealed the extent to which drivers feel pressured to drive recklessly so they can finish their routes quickly.

Any night owl will tell you that after midnight, the streets of New York City are often amok with rogue carting drivers, as this video and this video show.

It’s unclear how serious the NYPD is taking the issue, however. Under questioning from reporters, Chan and Monahan did not offer specifics beyond saying that each precinct would dedicate one squad car to enforcement during the crackdown on the 120-company industry and its 7,000 trucks.

“We will be out there doing enforcement,” Chan said. “We will talk about it at TrafficStat. And we will focus our attention on it.”

The commercial waste industry trade association issued a statement saying it “welcomes the NYPD’s ongoing inspections.”

“The waste industry makes safety a high priority – for our employees, and for the public – even as the very nature of waste collection is often dangerous,” the groups New Yorkers for Responsible Waste Management and the National Waste & Recycling Association said in a statement. “Improving safety requires partnerships – we just held the fifth semi-annual Safety Symposium with the Business Integrity Commission attended by nearly one hundred company owners and managers. Most large-fleet trucks are now covered with on-board cameras, sideguards and other safety systems. Drivers and helpers are better trained in all aspects of their work, as are our mechanics. Overall, we’re constantly building a culture of safety.”

The head of that commission didn’t immediately agree.

“We have had enough,” said BIC Commissioner Daniel Brownell. “Too many companies place profits and expediency over safety. They load up collection routes to save time and money…and the driver shifts are dangerously long. … It’s a recipe for disaster and the statistics bear that out.

“This industry must significantly improve,” he added. “You are on notice that city government is watching you.”

Brownell said he is still pushing for a bill that would give the BIC more control over enforcement of the industry. Earlier this year, the de Blasio administration announced an effort to divide up private carting routes by geography so that drivers would be responsible for smaller regions. That effort is still being finalized, a Sanitation Department spokesman said.

Story was updated at 4:47 p.m. to include a comment from the private carting industry.

  • Joe R.

    This is great news BUT we need sustained enforcement, not occasional crackdowns. Oh, and those videos are mild compared to stuff I’ve seen. That includes going through steady red lights at 30+ mph, driving at 55+ mph, whipping around blind corners, etc. Thankfully these things are noisy as f*ck or they would probably kill a lot more people.

  • They need to make examples out of some of these dirtbags, to make it clear to everyone that they are serious.

  • djx

    I don’t mind some of the stuff in those videos – like being on the wrong side of the street if stationary. Or even backing up against traffic if done slowly.

    When they move fast, they are a massive danger. We need consistent enforcement plus changing the rules the workers, who face tremendous danger themselves.

  • William Lawson

    Ah, there’s no permanent solution better than a week long crackdown. What an absolutely genius move. I have no idea where the NYPD gets these ideas from but they’re truly amazing. Crack down for a week and then stop cracking down – simple but guaranteed to work. I’m surprised multinational corporations like Shell and Microsoft don’t hire them as strategic thinkers.

  • William Lawson

    Speed is a factor, but that doesn’t mean any of these infractions are OK if done slowly. A trash cart can crush someone to death at 1mph.

  • William Lawson

    What’s really needed is for the family of one of their victims to bankrupt them in court. It’s clear that the lowlives who run these trash collecting companies don’t give a shit about the law and they have no respect for human life. They’re scum, and the only thing they understand is $$$’s. Get the message across that behavior like this could cost them their entire business and they’ll soon reform themselves.

  • Joe R.

    It’s all about context. Backing with one of the workers in back guiding the truck is fine. Or maybe if all the trucks were required to have cameras in their blind spots a lot of those maneuvers could in theory be done safely. “Could be” is the operative word. The company has to have a culture of safety, and train its workers that way. The fact most of these companies treat their workers like sh*t tells you they’re going to care even less about random cyclists or pedestrians who are at the receiving end of their worker’s fatigue and/or poor training.

  • Rex Rocket

    “We will be out there doing enforcement,” Chan said. “We will talk about
    it at TrafficStat. And we will focus our attention on it. But as important as this issue is, we don’t want to divert NYPD resources from our ongoing enforcement against the plague of lawless, reckless bicyclists on our streets.”

  • Bernard Finucane

    The real solution to the problem is to split the city into waste districts and disallow trucks from travelling too far per night.

  • Richard

    Low bidders