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Bellone signs law requiring tow crews to clean up crash debris from streets

This photo provided by Miranda Thompson shows the scene where several motorcycles and a pickup truck collided on a rural, two-lane highway on Friday.
Miranda Thompson
/
AP
This photo provided by Miranda Thompson shows the scene where several motorcycles and a pickup truck collided on a rural, two-lane highway.

A new Suffolk County law requires tow truck drivers to clean up debris left behind at crash sites.

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, Legislator Nick Caracappa (D-LI), and members of the community gathered on Wednesday to sign the bill into law. Caracappa drafted the bill, and gained unanimous bipartisan support from the Legislature.

Suffolk County has had over 29,000 reported motor vehicle accidents since January. The goal of the law is to prevent additional accidents that often occur as a result of residual debris.

“Debris left over from a motor vehicle accident is not only an eyesore, it’s a safety issue," said Caracappa. "It can lead to vehicles swerving out of the way of this debris, and maybe coming into contact with a pedestrian, a bicyclist, a child walking home from school."

Alan Dering is the president of Elite Towing, a towing company located in Ronkonkoma. The family-owned company has been in business for over 30 years. Dering said that his staff had already been abiding by the new law prior to its finalization.

“We have always treated it like it was a law," said Dering. "We always took pride in making sure that [drivers] cleaned."

Not only are tow truck drivers required to clean up physical debris, but also any liquid waste that is left behind. Bellone said the new bill will assure that everyone is on the same page, and make Suffolk County a safer place to live.

“It will provide the teeth necessary for enforcement and for law enforcement to do what they need to do and undoubtedly will enhance public safety out on our roadways,” he said.

State Senator Mario Mattera (R-NY), showed his support for the law, also known as Resolution 674. He referred to the legislation as “preventative maintenance,” that would improve the quality of life in one of the largest counties in New York.

He also announced that he is already in the process of bringing the legislation to the state level.

Lauren is a news intern at WSHU for the fall of 2022.