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Push for more guardrails reaches state legislators

NAPLES, Fla.- A new bill in Tallahassee could require guardrails to go up across the state on roads near canals and retention ponds, in an effort to prevent cars from hitting the water after a crash.

North Collier firefighters responded to a crash last August in Collier County, where a car flipped over into a canal off of Airport-Pulling Road in North Naples. Witnesses on the scene were able to smash a window and pull the driver to safety.

“People would be surprised to how many times we’re responding to a car that’s submerged or partially submerged,” said Jorge Aguilera, deputy chief of EMS for the North Collier Fire Rescue District.

The Collier County Sheriff’s Office says in the past four years, they’ve had almost 200 calls for service for cars in the water.

The state legislature is now looking to pass Chloe’s law, named for 21-year-old Chloe Arenas who died after her car crashed into a retention pond in central Florida last year.

“I think that there are obviously positives to creating some kind of barriers specifically in those retention ponds or canals that are in heavily trafficked areas,” said Aguilera.

In Collier County, North Collier firefighters say they’re concerned about the stretch of road along Airport-Pulling Road, south of Pine Ridge to Golden Gate Parkway. Until guardrails are in place, every vehicle the fire district has is equipped with a rapid entry kit to save people who drive into the water.

“It is a scary event for everybody,” said Aguilera.

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