New 2020 California Law Regarding Passing a Waste Collection Vehicle AB 2115

Starting January 1, 2020, California waste collection vehicles will have more protection when stopping and collecting waste. Under the new rules as proposed by AB 2115, when a motorist approaches a stopped waste collection vehicle, then they must move to ”an available lane adjacent to the waste service vehicle and pass at a safe distance without interfering with the safe operation of the waste service vehicle.”

There already was a law that required any vehicle approaching another vehicle traveling in the same lane and in the same direction to pass on the left at a safe distance without interfering with the safe operation of the overtaken vehicle. However, the new law will apply to stopped waste vehicles

Here are some requirements that must exist before the law applies:

  • The vehicle must be readily identifiable as a waste service based on the vehicle configuration and/or markings, and
  • The waste service vehicle displays flashing amber lights, and
  • The waste vehicle is not on a private driveway or roadway.

The law was created to patch a loophole in the laws that left waste vehicles unprotected while stopped and picking up the waste receptacles. Sponsors of the bill also hope the law will protect the public and reduce the number of accidents and injuries involving garbage trucks. By design, waste vehicles will often stop and start quickly just to come to a quick stop again. For approaching motorists, this erratic and unpredictable behavior causes near misses and even collisions, and hopefully the law will reduce both.

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