JOHNSON CITY, TN (WJHL)- A four month long investigating by News Channel 11 has reveals a speeding problem with Johnson City garbage trucks. After sifting through pages of city GPS data News Channel 11’s Curtis McCloud discovered a handful of city garbage trucks recorded going over the posted speed limit in some areas throughout the city.
Clyde Grindstaff has lived on Browns Mill road in Johnson City for over a decade. In that time traffic along that road has increased and so have the number of speeders.
Speeding data from GPS monitors on city garbage trucks we obtaine through a Freedom of Information Act request show a handful of trucks went above the posted speed limit of 30 miles per hour in July 2015.
The highest speed logged for one truck traveling on Browns Mill road at 64 miles per hour.
“You can’t stop one of those trucks, running that type of speed,” Clyde Grindstaff said.
In july 2016, we tracked garbage trucks going above the posted 30 mile per hour speed limit on East Main street, with a radar gun we bought off line. GPS data we got from the city shows one of the highest speeds logged around the same time this year was more than 60 miles per hour on Coldwater Drive.
“Somebody is going to get hurt here,” John Armstrong said.
John Armstrong lives on East Main Street. He first brought speeding concerns in that area to our attention.
“If one of those trucks loses control there is nothing stopping them from going through the front of my house,” Armstrong said.
He says after numerous calls to the city, garbage trucks still speed by his front door.
“Rest assured, we have heard you and we are addressing it, City Manager Pete Peterson said.
We took the GPS data and citizen concerns to city manager Pete Peterson and because of our discovery, city management is now requiring special training for all city drivers.
“We have determined that we have had some vehicles that have exceeded the speed limit and as a result of that we have met with almost all of the employees of the city of Johnson city from administration to solid waste and we are talking to them and going through training dealing wearing seat belts, obeying the speed limit and the perils of distracted driving,” Pete Peterson said.
Hours before this story was set to air, the city reached out to me saying they have new information on GPS data for drivers speeding in two cases, on Coldwater Drive and Browns Mill road.
“When we see something that appears to be speeding it could very well be on I-26 and it picks up the address that in this instance is beneath which is browns mill road,” Solid Waste manager Kathy Harsh said.
Harsh says the GPS tracker is mainly used for ensuring that drivers are completing their routes, not for speeding even though they do use it to monitor speed.
Regardless of those two incidents, the city manager acknowledges there is a concern with garbage truck drivers speeding.
Peterson says the training for city drivers has been a big help and serves as a reminder to drivers that there are consequences if they are cited for speeding in a city vehicle.
“that could result from anything between a verbal warning, a written warning, a suspension , all the way up to a termination so this is something we take very seriously,” Peterson said.
comforting words for Clyde Grindstaff and John Armstrong.
Both men are hopeful that the speeding will soon stop and their families will no longer be in harms way.
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