In less than a month after CBS highlighted Waste Management on their Undercover Boss television show, tragedy hits. Cindie Holub, a cyclist in Arizona, was struck and killed by a Waste Management driver. What is sad about this is Undercover Boss showed the drivers having to quickly drive around their routes to meet the bottom line figures. Although the CEO stated he was changing policy, I guess preserving the life of another human was not part of the equation. Below is an email I just sent off to WM Customer Service. It is will interesting to see if they respond, I hope so...
As a Waste Management customer and a cyclist, I am concerned when I read about a Waste Management driver hitting and killing a cyclist in Arizona. As there is a three foot minimum rule in Arizona where a driver needs to give a cyclist a minimum of three feet of room before passing, this was not just an accident but negligence. While Colorado is not Arizona, do your drivers receive education about Colorado Senate Bill 148 that was approved and signed into bill last year? It provides similar language to the Arizona bill. I can appreciate Waste Management drivers are extremely busy but you can please let me know that your drivers are receiving ongoing educational training on the vehicles they driving and they understand no route or service is worth the cost of a life? I would appreciate a confirmation on this as I would like to believe Waste Management is a customer service-oriented company and not one that cheapens life.
Bernardi, R. (2010, March 2). Scottsdale cyclist's fight for her life ends. Retrieved from http://www.bicyclelaw.com/blog/index.cfm/2010/3/2/Scottsdale-Cyclists-Fight-For-Her-Life-Ends
Here is what I received from Waste Management on March 5, 2010:
Rob, Waste Management does provide training for its drivers
as it pertains to bicycle and pedestrian safety that is specific, detailed and
the result of WM being the safety leader in the industry and the Company with
unmatched resources to address this and all other hazards. Hazard we
continue to isolate and address faced by our drivers, customers and the public,
each and every day. This incident although tragic, will be used to
improve our safety programs, ongoing safety training and our safety
culture. I (myself) am actually traveling to Phoenix next Tuesday as part
of the Company’s specialized investigative team, a singular team that
will try to learn from this terrible, terrible occurrence. I do want to
say thanks to you for taking time to voice your concerns about a topic I can
tell is important to you and your fellow cyclists. I will assure you, I
will do everything I can to make sure this never repeats. Always great to
hear from a involved citizen and thank you for being a WM customer; if you have
any questions or concerns, please call my cell # 602-xxx-xxxx.
Colorado Utah Safety Manager
Time will tell if this improves their practice. Hopefully Larry O'Donnell, Waste Management president and COO, will live up to his promise on CBS's Undercover Boss and back off on some of the insane work practices his company demands for their drivers. Life is more precious than the need to rush around to pick up trash.