April 8th, 2014
Sunshine State Towing Association
As many of you already recognize, we are rapidly approaching the one year anniversary of the SSTA. Many, if not all of you as founding members, took a giant step to follow a few of us into the unknown to a more positive direction for the towing and recovery industry as a whole in our State. Your involvement is an indication of the desire to improve our overall membership and industry as professional towing and recovery operators dedicated to the motoring public throughout the State. Standing united we must take an aggressive and active involvement with all governmental agencies throughout the State as they enact legislative agendas, statutes, ordinances and DOT regulations impacting our industry directly in both positive and negative directions. Our mandate is not to be adversarial, but one of an educated advisory group with a balanced mandate to aid all government agencies as they review and implement changes that effect our industry.
While our progress is not evident to the industry as a whole, we are making great strides in conjunction with our lobbyist in approaching the responsible agencies in Tallahassee with specific regard to the Florida Statutes, recognition of non-police agencies such as DOT, Florida’s Turnpike Enterprises, Fire and other Municipal agencies granting the same protections covered in the current statutes while acting on behalf of a police agency. We believe this is in line with the original Statute; however, the language was specific to police agencies when enacted. While the language does not have any impact with any of these agencies, we must seek their involvement for any change. This is just one example of how a little more involvement by an educated association with significant skin in the game can positively affect the industry as a whole.
Another directive we have forwarded to our lobbyist is requesting Florida’s DOT to establish a fund (similar to the RISC Program Bonus) that would pay for towing, recovery, cleanup and site remediation for heavy duty accidents in the event that the responsible party did not carry the appropriate insurance or had the general inability to pay for these costs. It is the SSTA’s position that we are not the garbage company, and we are the solution to many of these incidents every year. Like every other party on scene, we have the right to be paid for our services by someone. In the end, the State has far more effective leverage against the responsible party and our involvement immediately restores commerce to the community. We are using as a template for this program, with the help of Doug Nelson of the Ontario Recovery Group, a program already in place for several years in Ontario, Canada. This program has had a very positive effect on the local towing operators and equally important the motorists traveling on the effected routes.
Over the next few weeks we will clean up a couple of outstanding issues mandated in our first year of meetings. We will shortly announce a meeting agenda around the State with specific regard to enhancing our membership and meeting with other involved participants in the towing and recovery industry within the State.
We cannot thank all of you enough for your overall involvement and participation in our first year. As we gain a little more traction, we will ask for your time and advice as to what are the most important issues we face as an industry and how we best proceed in involving ourselves in a solution rather than waiting for the poor outcome of someone else’s efforts, well intended or not. We are excited about our overall progress and look forward to our success with your involvement in our 2014 and 2015 efforts. Again, thank you.
F. Geoffrey RussellSean Loscalzo