Monday, November 26, 2018

When will it end? The time has passed for far too many who have waited for the legislature to act on distracted driving

Heartbreaking.  Simply heartbreaking.  Nov 27, 2018, update: DAVIE, Fla. - The news is not getting any better.  As reported by Channel 10 news, Second victim dies after driver crashes into group of bicyclists in Davie, Driver cooperating with investigation, police say: Report that a second person has died after a driver crashed into a group of bicyclists Sunday in Davie, police confirmed Tuesday. Also see Miami Herald online, A second cyclist has died after being hit by a distracted driver during group ride
By David Neal

Carlos Rodriguez, 62, was identified as the latest victim to die from his injuries. Denise Marsh, 53, was pronounced dead at the scene. 

Wife and mother killed when driver strikes 6 cyclists on Sunday morning group ride” – the headline of a Sunday article posted online Miami Herald, by David J. Neal.  Heartbreaking. No one has prematurely judged the driver – the journalist reported that “The driver said she was distracted, but doesn’t remember from what.”

I find it extremely troubling how so many people feel it is acceptable to drive while distracted. Most often the distractions are voluntary, created by the driver themselves. It is almost as if some drivers try to find something else to do to take up their travel time.Driving and texting is unacceptable. 

As a cyclist, a runner, as a person simply walking my dog through our neighborhood, I have had more than my fair share of close calls. 

I continue to be an active leader of Palmetto Bay, a community that has consistently pushed for strengthening the distracted driving laws. (CLICK HERE to view some of our efforts).

This is a matter of public safety, of preserving life. I don’t understand the reluctance. Innocent people are being permanently injured, worse yet, lives are being lost. 

I may be leaving elected office on December 5, but that will not silence me from continuing the efforts on this issue of great public safety. 

The time has long passed for the Florida Legislature to properly take this issue on and strengthen texting and driving Law currently on the books. 

How many more residents of this great State have to pay the price?

I want to thank past members of our Palmetto Bay Youth Community Involvement Board, particularly Mark Merwitzer, a Palmetto Bay resident, a founding member of our Palmetto Bay Youth Community Involvement Board, and past chair of our Youth Board. Mark is now a student at the University of Florida and is ready once again to lobby our Florida Legislature this coming year.

The Florida Legislature has pre-empted local governments on many issues, including anti-distracted legislation within their own jurisdictions (as they should as this is a State and a National problem, but preemption is a responsibility to act on our behalf).

We have called upon the Florida Legislature to hear the pleas and act numerous times! Let’s get Florida off the list of a mere 4 states(out of 50) which do not consider deadly distracted driving to be a primary offense.  It is up to the Florida Legislature – and our Governor – to enact a statewide law in order to keep our communities safe – everywhere – in public and private, in school and in parks AND on the roads.

Mark has been a contributor to my blog - one of my medias used to stay on the record and push out many issues of importance.  His latest post was last January - on, of course, the importance of ending distracted driving. Please follow the link (click on the headline) to view Mark's post of January 14, 2018, Guest Post - Mark Merwitzer - an advocate for safe roads - ending distracted driving.

Thank you Mark and fellow students for the work with Miami-Dade County and other municipalities. The Florida legislature has seen a massive push from numerous local governments across Florida.  Palmetto Bay has included the anti-distracted driving legislative annually.  We want lives saved.

How many more lives will it take before our legislature and governor act?

Eugene Flinn

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