Trash and recycling trucks are causing expensive accidents as drivers race through their routes, Schenectady City Councilman Vince Riggi said at Monday’s council meeting.
In just three months, the drivers caused four accidents with more than $10,000 in property damage, not including damage to the city trucks, Riggi said.
In one case, the driver fell out of his truck, which then crashed, Riggi added.
“It’s a good thing he wasn’t killed, just some property damage and landscaping,” Riggi said.
He said the department is causing too many accidents.
“If all that can be done is being done, I think some of these people shouldn’t be driving anymore,” he said.
So far this year, he said, the city has agreed to pay $24,000 in damages from seven accidents — one each from the fire, police and street departments, plus four from the waste department.
In the past two years, he added, there’s been 24 accidents, 13 of which were from the waste department.
The council voted unanimously to pay three claims Monday, but Riggi said the council had previously delayed payment because they wanted more information about accident-prevention plans.
Eventually, Riggi said, the council decided it wasn’t fair to make residents wait for payments, so the items were placed on the agenda.
Riggi told Mayor Gary McCarthy that the council still wants to know what can be done to reduce accidents.
“Myself, and the rest of the council, have some real concerns,” Riggi said.
After the meeting, McCarthy acknowledged the problem.
“We are looking at that internally,” he said. “It’s a problem. The message isn’t quite getting out.”
He added that he could not comment on the incident in which a worker fell out of his vehicle.
“I believe that’s one of those things I can’t comment on if it involves discipline,” he said, but added that the crash was caused by “poor judgment,” not an equipment failure.
He also said some crashes were “truly accidents” and that the accident rate was higher this quarter because of the bad weather this winter.
In other business, the council voted 6-1 to ban the sale of single cigarettes, known as “loosies” and often bought by teens.
It’s already illegal on the state and federal level, but the local ban will allow police and code enforcers to regulate it.
Riggi voted against the ban after emphasizing that he would like to make all cigarettes illegal.
He said the county should continue to enforce the state ban, as it already does through undercover work.
“I just see this as another redundancy “ he said. “I hear working together works. Why aren’t we working together on this one?”
Councilman Ed Kosiur said the county would run stings “in partnership” with the city.
“The more eyes we have on the problem, the better off we will be,” he said.