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Manatee County Retiree Hopes Product Curbs Accidents from Rubbernecking


BRADENTON – Carl Cannova is the former West Coast Florida Food Services President for Sysco Foods. In his retirement, Cannova found a pretty unique and ambitious use of his time – creating a way to combat what he says is one of the most dangerous causes of accidents: rubbernecking. Everyone says they hate it, yet everyone seems to do it; slowly rolling by an accident site, gawking at the happenings, rather than paying attention to the road.

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Cannova with the SRN 1000 stowed

Over the past two years, Cannova and his wife have developed a product for emergency responders that they think will put a big dent in the dangerous practice. Cannova’s company, Stop Rubbernecking, has developed the SRN 1000, a system of convertible screens and tripods that sets up in less than five minutes and can be assembled by just one person.

The system is easily transported and deployed on accident scenes in order to largely remove the visual distraction. The company says that the screen system is durable and that in addition to preventing accidents caused by drivers looking at road spectacles such as car crashes, it can help to protect crime scenes and preserve evidence.

At least one local, high-ranking law enforcement officer is impressed.

“This is a superior product to protect crime scenes,” said Manatee County Sheriff Brad Steube. “The system is durable, easy to travel with and set up and it is a crucial tool to provide privacy for victims and officers at several types of traumatic events.”

After retiring from his role as the President of Sysco Food Services for the West Coast of Florida, in 2008, Cannova and his wife Tommie began developing the idea. The couple worked with Sarasota design firm RoBrady to develop a prototype and then perfected it with help from local law enforcement officials.

To date, 11 Florida law enforcement agencies are using the SRN 1000. This year the company is also launching the product both nationally and internationally.

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Carl and Tommie Cannova with the SRN 1000 deployed

Cannova says that coroners and first responders have also purchased the screens to protect identities of victims, especially in sensitive situations. Still, he emphasizes that one of the most important aspects of the system is its use in surrounding accidents on the roadways in order to combat rubbernecking.

“Many officers I’ve spoken with are grateful to have this system, which replaces their current methods of holding up finicky aluminum poles and tarps, which require people to stand guard,” said Cannova. “That’s a waste of manpower, which could be used helping the accident victims and cleanup."

The family owned and operated organization is based in Manatee County. Cannova’s son Phillip is the vice president of the South East Region and his wife Tommie is CEO.

“He’s been planning this for years,” said Tommie Cannova, CEO of Stop Rubbernecking. “I asked him to just relax and play golf, and he did for about two years. After that finally got old, he decided to start designing the SRN 1000. Now though, I could not be more proud of what our company has been able to do to help victims and their families and prevent rubbernecking.”


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