Video reveals 'appalling' driving by motorists passing Bristol bin lorries

September 13 2019
Video reveals 'appalling' driving by motorists passing Bristol bin lorries

BRISTOL Waste has released a shocking video showing impatient drivers speeding past bin men as they work, putting their lives at risk.

The council-owned company has shared the footage to put drivers on notice that their actions are being captured on video and shared with police.

The video shows cars and vans mounting the pavement to squeeze past a rubbish truck parked on the road to allow workers to collect household waste.

One van driver can be seen squeezing through a gap between a bin lorry and a wall that is so narrow, he has to reach out and fold back the recycling truck’s wing mirror to get past.

Two speed past a bin man as he stands in road emptying rubbish into the truck.

Councillors were shocked by the video - which you can view here - when they saw it at a scrutiny meeting.

Brenda Massey described it as “horrific” while Mark Brain labelled it “appalling”.

Councillor Brain said: “To put people’s lives at risk like that, just for the sake of a few minutes. Words fail me.”

Bristol Waste’s managing director, Tony Lawless, said it was the expressions on the faces of the rubbish men that worried him most.

It’s not astonishment. It’s almost resignation that this is part and parcel of the day job. That’s the frightening bit to me,” he said.

Bristol Waste’s new fleet of vehicles has 360-degree cameras installed.

Mr Lawless said the company was in talks with Avon and Somerset Police about using the footage to aid successful prosecutions for dangerous driving.

The thing with these new cameras is they’re so sharp,” Mr Lawless said. “We’ve got time, date, place; the driver is as clear as a bell, the registration is as clear as a bell.

It’s not just [the safety of] our operatives. It could be somebody coming out of their house, somebody with a pram coming around the corner.”

van picture

Cllr Brain made the point there might be fewer incidents of dangerous undertaking if collections were carried out outside rush hour.

If collections on major roads could be done at less busy times of the day, that might reduce it a bit, but there’s no excuse for it,” he said.

Mr Lawless said several factors, including how well people sort their rubbish, affected the safety of bin men as they work.

If waste is put out properly, they can pick it up, tip it in, put it back and move on, and the vehicle can move quite quickly,” he said. “But when the waste is in a mess, it takes the operators four or five times as long to separate it and the vehicle is in the road a lot longer.”

On average a messy recycling box will take two minutes for a crew member to sort, whereas one with the materials well separated takes just 40 seconds, according to a Bristol Waste spokesman. 

In a statement released today, Bristol Waste operations director Jason Eldridge said: “While our work ensures materials get a second life, our crews only have one.

Please be patient – dangerous driving costs lives. Our crews are working as quickly as possible to collect your recycling and move out of your way.

Residents can do their bit to help too. A well-sorted recycling box can not only help increase recycling rates, but it will also help crews sort the boxes more quickly, and help us move out the way in less time.”

Bristol Waste makes over 4.3 million recycling collections every year.

Driving on the pavement is an offence under the Highways Act.