What is a garbage truck duty

Michael Bauer law firm, your law firm for criminal law, traffic law, passenger transport law and traffic law in Munich

04/26/2002 Liability in the event of an accident with garbage collectors on duty

back to the listing

The Regional Court of Münster (LG Münster, judgment of April 26, 2002 - 16 O 83/02; according to zfs 2002, 422) had to decide in a lawsuit on liability in the event of an accident involving garbage collectors on duty.


The matter was that the vehicle of a car driver was damaged by a garbage man stepping out in front of the garbage truck when passing a stationary garbage truck whose hazard warning lights were switched on. According to witnesses, the garbage collector did not pay attention to the traffic and was seriously injured in the accident. As the plaintiff, the vehicle owner sought compensation for repair costs, loss of use and expert costs from the defendant waste disposal company, where the injured garbage collector was employed. In his opinion, the defendant's employee was responsible for the accident alone, as he stepped onto the road with his face turned away without paying attention to the traffic. The defendant argued against it that the plaintiff had driven far too fast because he either had to go pace while overtaking or had to forego overtaking. The court partially upheld the claim. The plaintiff therefore has a claim against the defendant for damages in the amount of 50% according to § 839 BGB, Art. 34 GG, since the garbage collector negligently violated his official duty towards the plaintiff by running into the plaintiff's car and damaging it . However, the plaintiff is also responsible for a high degree of complicity in the traffic accident. When passing garbage trucks, a driver must either keep a distance of two meters to the side or drive at a pace. Furthermore, based on the regulations for buses standing at stops with the hazard warning lights switched on, these apply accordingly when passing garbage trucks. A driver must always expect garbage collectors to enter the area to the side of the garbage truck in violation of traffic regulations in order to get an overview of the traffic flow from there. Likewise, the need of the garbage collectors to work quickly and the numbness of the dangers of traffic through daily handling mean that these regulations for buses should also apply here accordingly for road users who want to pass garbage trucks. On the other hand, the plaintiff in the present case - as well as against §§ 1 para. 2; 3 para. 1 StVO - violated when he tried to pass the garbage truck with too little side clearance and too high a speed. His behavior was therefore one of the causes of the accident.

Comments from the law firm Bauer:

Who does not know them, these orange monsters, which further restrict the already scarce street space in the cities. So an everyday occurrence, driving past a garbage truck. But ultimately the same standard of care applies here as when passing a (school) bus at the bus stop. In a case, the driver must at any time with a person carelessly entering the lane or a schoolchild (since August 1, 2002 with an even higher liability risk if the child is not yet 10 years old - see also the information on the new damage law in valve 3 -2002) and, in the other case, expect a garbage collector who is absorbed in his daily work and dulled by the dangers of road traffic. As is so often the case: be careful with everything that lights up and flashes - and be it the irresponsible schnapps noses who want to get behind the wheel again on New Year's Eve or Mardi Gras.

back to the listing