Shocking CCTV footage has been released to help put the brakes on reckless drivers hitting refuse workers as they push past in their cars and mount pavements to avoid bin lorries.
In a bid to crack down on the risks posed to refuse collectors, waste company Biffa fitted all new lorries with 360 degree cameras to help pursue prosecutions.
The company said workers had previously seen dangerous drivers as an occupational hazard, and estimates there are 30,000 incidents of motorists driving recklessly on pavements every month - or about 1,000 per day.
Video footage shows drivers mounting pavements in trucks and vans to avoid the lorries and even bumping into workers.
In one shocking near-miss, a little boy riding his bike along the pavement is just a few feet away from being hit by a driver who veers towards him to get past a bin lorry.
A spokesman for Biffa said: “The issue is far, far greater than the industry, or the public, could ever possibly imagine.
“The careless behaviour of drivers has been accepted by our staff as ‘part of the job’. Up until recently, many rarely reported such incidents to their managers, let alone the police.”
Two years ago Biffa started fitting cameras to bin lorries in a bid to prompt workers to report the incidents, as 94 per cent went unprosecuted despite driving on the pavement being banned in the Highway Code and also the Highways Act.
The waste company says that one in three incidents is now being prosecuted in Staffordshire, where the police force helped design a template for reporting dangerous driving.
Since a campaign, Driving Recklessly on Pavements (DROPs) was launched, more and more police forces are now on board, halving the number of incidents in some areas.
One in three of the 300 reported incidents of illegal driving by Biffa staff led to prosecution according to police figures. Some older trucks are still not fitted with cameras but Royal Society for Prevention of Accidents praised the initiative.