Be careful. Be aware. Be patient. Waste collection trucks have many blind spots so stay at least a truck’s length away. Just because you can see them does not mean they can see you or hear you. Sideswipes and merging are the two main issues that cause accidents with waste collection vehicles. The safety of workers collecting bins outside the vehicles is also important.

The City of Toronto’s Waste Collection Safety public education campaign reminds drivers and other road users to exercise caution when approaching or passing waste collection vehicles.

Safety Reminders

Here are some key points to remember when you encounter waste collection vehicles.


Solid Waste Collection Operators frequently exit their vehicles to work on city streets and cannot always see oncoming traffic. Please give them space to do their jobs safely.


Waste collection vehicles are large, are not able to move quickly and need to make frequent stops. Slow down when approaching and proceed with caution when trying to pass one of these vehicles.


Waste collection vehicles have blind spots and some drivers are on the right-hand side of the vehicle so they may not be able to see or hear oncoming vehicles. Be aware when collection vehicles are ahead of you as they may need to merge at any time.

About Solid Waste Collection in the City

There are about 320 vehicles collecting garbage, recycling, organics and other materials daily from residents and businesses across the city. These collection vehicles travel about 12,000 to 15,000 km per year. They operate in dense urban areas, in high traffic areas, on narrow streets, particularly those with on-street parking, in locations with a high volume of pedestrian and other vulnerable road users, including cyclists and scooter riders, and at times during inclement weather. Waste collection takes place 24 hours a day, year round across the city.

Solid Waste Management Services continues to invest in staff training, equipment and facilities to improve public and solid waste collection staff safety on the roads. These investments include:

  • Outfitting vehicles with safety equipment and technology including truck side guards, 360-degree camera systems, video-based telematics, GPS (global positioning system)/AVL (automatic vehicle locator) and something called machine vision technology, which enables systems to derive meaningful information from visual inputs and take actions or make recommendations based on that information in real time to provide in-cab coaching to drivers – all as part of the City’s work toward Vision Zero;
  • Enhanced training for new staff utilizing the City’s Keele Valley Training Centre;
  • Simulator-based training for all staff who operate any vehicle with the objective of improving driver responses;
  • Annual Solid Waste Management Driver Safety Awareness Week to enhance safety culture and engage staff in supporting Vision Zero;
  • Continued environmental, health and safety compliance work.

The City created a video, Garbage truck safety tips for kids, to remind elementary school children about the hazards and safety practices when they encounter a waste collection vehicle in their school zone.

The three-minute video includes safety tips for school children on what to do when they encounter garbage or recycling collection vehicles in operation on their way to and from school.