From the NY Post:
Last year, the city was hit with more than 1,000 legal claims and hundreds of complaints from New Yorkers claiming 20-ton garbage trucks were careening the wrong way down city streets, running stop signs, making illegal U-turns -- and taking out side-view mirrors, trees, fire hydrants and even people along the way.
During the 2009 fiscal year, taxpayers shelled out $17.6 million to settle 1,069 claims involving department vehicles, said a spokesman for city Comptroller John Liu.
Over the past three fiscal years, sanitation vehicles were involved in more than 6,000 crashes -- among a fleet of 5,500 vehicles -- that injured 294 people, according to agency data.
Sanitation spokesman Vito Turso said the "vast majority" of the accidents "are fender-benders, many of which occur during snow and ice conditions when collection trucks are converted to snowplows by adding a one-ton, 10-foot-wide plow blade."
Turso noted that sanitation workers log 6.87 million hours of driving a year, and said the department has "a very aggressive accident-reduction program" that rewards districts with notable reductions.
Still, accidents actually increased during the 2009 fiscal year by 19, to 2,189.
Photo from the NY Times