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New Georgia Law Sets Procedure for Passing Garbage Trucks

Posted by Sean A. Black | Jul 07, 2015 | 4 Comments

The legislature this year added a new statute, OCGA 40-6-16.1, a companion to OCGA 40-6-16 which deals with passing emergency vehicles.  OCGA 40-6-16 is known as the "move over" law.

The new statute is basically a "move over" law for sanitation vehicles.  The law applies to such vehicles operated as authorized by a county or municipal governing authority and displaying flashing yellow, amber, white or red lights.

Drivers are required to approach the vehicle with "due caution."  The law requires approaching drivers to move into a lane not adjacent to the vehicle if possible.  If such a lane change is not possible or would be unsafe, then the driver is directed to slow the driver's speed to a speed which is at least ten miles per hour less than the posted limit or 25 mph, whichever is greater.  

The violation carries a fine of up to $250.  The violation is not, surprisingly, a misdemeanor, and, therefore, an offender cannot be sentenced to jail or probation.  

The law applies to vehicles traveling in the the same direction and the opposite direction as the vehicle with active sanitation workers.  

About the Author

Sean A. Black

Sean A. Black is a 1992 graduate of the Emory University School of Law. He has been in private practice in Toccoa, Georgia since June 1, 1992.


Peter Reply

Posted May 15, 2021 at 09:15:12

As a sanitation driver in GA, I have to say that THIS LAW amongst MANY others (ie: talking on cell or texting) is NOT ENFORCED and is an absolute joke!! I have had NUMEROUS close calls in RESIDENTIAL areas, where drivers are going 40+ mph and don’t approach with ANY REGARD of caution! It’s a JOKE that THEY are the ones to post those signs about DRIVE LIKE YOUR KID LIVES HERE and they themselves drive in such a manner!! Guess THEY don’t have much care for their own children. Sad world we live in and THEY’RE the FIRST ONES to complain about getting their trash picked up!!! Such hyprocrisy!

Sean A. Black Reply

Posted May 17, 2021 at 06:27:36

I do not want to get tangled up in the hypocrisy issue, but you are right, we all need to drive with more attention to driving, and much less to phones, music, conversation and other distractions.

Keith Reply

Posted Jul 11, 2022 at 09:48:20

Does this apply to trash trucks? Because the statue is stating emergency vehicles with lights?

Sean A. Black Reply

Posted Jul 11, 2022 at 11:36:41

You may be looking at OCGA 40-6-16.1 instead of 40-6-16.1. Most of OCGA 40-6-16.1 is spelled out in the article. Truck used by municipal or county sanitation worker s must have flashing yellow, amber, red or white lights.

That said, if you encounter a truck and workers picking up trash or garbage, exercise some care and caution even if it’s a private company or the truck doesn’t have the right color of lights.

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