Proposed Florida bill aims to help track down hit-and-run drivers

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — A bill that has been introduced in the Florida Senate would require auto repair shops to request accident reports before repairing vehicles following an accident or collision.

“I read the bill last night,” Ron Katz, the owner of Midas Auto in West Palm Beach, told WPTV. “For the first time, I read the whole thing, and it actually really opened my eyes.”

Katz is talking about a new bill that was introduced in the Florida Senate last week.

“I’ve really never thought of what happened to the car,” Katz said.

Ron Katz is among the auto shop workers who have questions about the bill and the ramifications for his business.

WPTV

It’s Senate Bill 194, also known as the Lilly Glaubach Act, named after a 13-year-old victim of a deadly hit-and-run crash in Sarasota County in August 2022.

Glaubach was hit by a driver, David Chang, now 67, while riding her bicycle. Chang fled the scene and then took his car to a body shop in Tampa. He was later arrested, convicted and sentenced to 15 years in prison and three years of probation.

The bill reads, “If a customer requests that a motor vehicle repair shop perform work to restore a motor vehicle damaged in an accident or a collision, the motor vehicle repair shop must before preparing a written repair estimate required by subsection (2), request that the customer provide a written crash report.”

According to the proposed bill, if the customer doesn’t have a report, the shop is then required to request one from law enforcement.

“I think it’s a good thing that they’re trying to crack down on it,” Katz said. “The problem that I do have with it at the same time is that they’re putting a lot on the owners of the repair shop to police it and it becomes a lot more paperwork.”

Carl Gould believes the bill would be a strain on auto companies if it becomes law in Florida.

WPTV

Carl Gould believes the bill would be a strain on auto companies if it becomes law in Florida.

WPTV also spoke with Carl Gould, a business analyst and founder of 7 Stage Advisors, who agreed with Katz.

“You’re putting the strain on the auto body shop owner now to be the judge and jury on the severity of an accident. It’s not their job. They’re not qualified for it,” Gould said.

WPTV contacted the bill’s author, Sen. Joe Gruters, R-Sarasota, to see if he’d like to speak with us about the bill, and we haven’t heard back.

“I do understand what they’re trying to do with it,” Katz said.

Katz said he sees the good behind it, but he has some questions about the logistics. He said he’ll be keeping his eye on the bill’s progress as it makes its way through the Legislature.

“I’m just worried about how it’s going to get policed as far as us doing our job and then notifying and then if for some reason we skip a step are we in trouble for skipping that step?” Katz said.

Read the full bill below:


link

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