In the wake of the October 6 limousine crash in New York’s Schoharie County, the National Limousine Association (NLA) wasted no time springing to action.
The association itself, along with its PR firm EVINS Communication and lobbying and legal teams, have been keeping the industry updated about an incident that is yielding new information slowly while providing a unified message for operators who have been approached by their local news outlets for comment.
The NLA board of directors offered a joint comment through email not long after the fatal accident, which implored the industry to contact NLA leaders directly should they have additional questions, as well as offered assurance that numerous teams have been diligently doing damage control since the tragedy that claimed 20 lives:
“Many of you have already reached out personally, and by now we are all aware of the tragic events that took place in Schoharie, New York on Saturday afternoon. While many details concerning the cause of the crash are not available or unconfirmed, we do know that the loss of life was immense, and the lasting impression will be felt across our industry for a long time to come.
Over the next several days, many of you may be contacted by local and national media. Should this occur, we strongly suggest that you respond with the below, in writing:
From Gary Buffo, President of the National Limousine Association:
‘The Board and the management of the National Limousine Association were devastated to learn of the tragedy that took place in Schoharie, N.Y., on the afternoon of October 6th, 2018. Inquiries should be directed to local and state authorities and to the National Transportation Safety Board. Our thoughts and our prayers are with all those affected.’
EVINS, our Public Relations Agency, has been monitoring the event since it took place and is fielding numerous media inquiries.”
Buffo then issued another message just days later, which acknowledged the many conversations he had with members of the industry and explaining the reasoning behind the NLA’s approach to handling the situation:
“I have been fortunate for the opportunity to speak with many of you concerning this situation, including many long and impassioned conversations regarding how the NLA should best respond. Within hours of the accident, our Public Relations, Legal and Lobbying teams convened and have been hard at work ensuring that the NLA’s course of action carefully considers not only our membership, but the ground transportation industry as a whole. While the operator of the limousine in question was never a member of our organization, the ramifications of this incident affect us all.
As you may have noticed, our statements thus far have been deliberately concise, and our public relations firm has worked tirelessly to provide messaging and direction that casts the NLA and the industry in the best possible light. The reality is that very little is presently known about the accident, and commentary from us could be viewed as inappropriate, at best, and self-serving, at worst. Still, we continue to point media to our longstanding support of safety issues, including our Ride Responsibly campaign, which was developed with passenger and driver safety as a primary point of focus. To this end, we have recently embarked on a major initiative not only to address and support the recent recommendations provided to us by the NTSB, but also to further strengthen our commitment to the safety and well-being of passengers and drivers alike. Our PR firm continues to monitor and evaluate the situation and our position on a daily basis, and we would like to reassure you that any action we take will be done so in the best interest of our members and the industry at-large.”
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