When tow-truck crews clean up after a crash, it should be a thorough job.
At least that’s how the Pasco County Commission sees it.
The county board soon will be considering a provision that will require the people who remove damaged or wrecked vehicles from roadways to be sure to clear the roadway of glass and injurious debris.
“This is sort of a local version of a state law that is basically aimed at tow-truck drivers,” said Kristi Sims, senior assistant county attorney. “They’re operating on rotation and remove vehicles after accidents from our roadway.”
The aim is to hold them to the standard that the state law requires, which is clean up all of the debris that results from the incident.
“By codifying it in our local ordinances, we have a local chance to use code enforcement to enforce it. At the state law, it’s only enforceable through issuance of a uniform traffic citation.
“At our level, it will be enforceable obviously through issuance of a county court citation, which is punishable up to $500 per day.
“The local amendment that we’re proposing also will have a provision that requires the person removing the debris to lawfully dispose of it,” Sims said.
Commission Chairman Mike Moore said he wants to make sure that this ordinance doesn’t require towing companies to remove biological hazards, in the event that someone is hurt or killed in an accident.
“This is aimed at all of the glass, hardened plastic, that is getting pushed and accumulated into sort of the center of every intersection in Pasco County,” Sims said.
It requires “tow truck drivers on the rotations to do a good job, it’s part of their contract to pick up that debris, that causes flat tires, that flies up and scratches other people’s paint, etc.,” she said.
Commissioner Kathryn Starkey said: “I thought it was required already.”
Sims responded: “It is under state law, we just haven’t duplicated it on a local level.”
Commissioner Mike Wells said: “I don’t think it’s every hauler, but again, we need to hold them accountable.”
Wells added: “There’s no excuse for them not cleaning it up.”
Sims said coordination will be needed between the county and law enforcement agencies to determine whom should be cited when crash scenes are not cleaned up.
Board members voted to set a public hearing date on the new requirements for April 7 at 1:30 p.m. The hearing will be in the boardroom, on the second floor of the Historic Pasco County Courthouse, 37918 Meridian Ave., in Dade City.
Published March 18, 2020