Do you ever wonder who picks up the trash along the highways?  There are many thoughtless travelers that toss out items too numerous to mention.  Because of litterbugs, unsecured items being transported, or accidents, our roads become unpleasant to look at, and dangerous, as well.  We owe a debt of thanks to those whose job it is to clean them up.

According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, each state should have a program that provides for rapid, orderly, and safe removal from roadways wreckage, spillage, and debris from accidents.  State Highway Department maintenance workers are available day or night to flag motorists, operate equipment, drive trucks, and remove litter and debris in the event of an accident.

Volunteers in the Adopt-A-Highway, and other programs, do their fair share of maintaining the shoulders of the roads.  Contractors and prison labor also furnish workers that assist in this effort, as well.  Persons who undertake these jobs should have full knowledge of the risks involved and take safety measures.  They should wear personal protective equipment such as work gloves, boots, high visibility vests, hardhats,  and safety glasses.  Their training should include knowledge of biological hazards, which things may be recycled, and how to use good lifting techniques.   Their work area should have signs posted along the road, as well as safety cones in place.   A communication system must be used between the workers, and first aid kits should be available.  Whether they are paid or volunteer workers, they possibly could come in contact with snakes, poison ivy, insects, as well as contending with traffic passing close by.

According to an Eagle-Tribune (N.Andover, Maine) newspaper article, back in 2007, an artist from Florida created a sculpture made from plastic buckets, traffic barricades, sheet metal, pieces of pipe, and other debris from roadways to offer this opinion, “road debris is dangerous, and it’s everywhere.”  What a unique way to send this important message.

We Texans have had the theme “Don’t Mess With Texas,” for years; unfortunately, some do anyway.  Let’s all do our part to keep the highways safe and litter-free.