The students are speaking loudly, but will the members and leadership of the Florida Senate hear their pleas and act in time?
There are scant days to go before the end of the 2018 Regular Session of the Florida Legislature. Please join the effort - call or e-mail Florida Senate President Joe Negron (850) 487-5025 firstname.lastname@example.org and tell our State Leaders that SB 90 or HB 33 must be heard on the Senate Floor, passed and sent to the Governor.
It was my honor to join Mark Merwitzer and students from Miami Dade College’s (MDC) Wolfson Campus and the School for Advanced Studies (SAS) on Wednesday, March 7, to address the issue of teen roadway and driving safety, and demand the Florida Senate pass legislation to ban texting while driving in order to save lives.
This was a touching press conference that each member of the Florida Senate should watch and hear tragic real life experiences from loved ones who suffer daily due to the loss of a family member - included in this press conference were Debbie Wanninkhof, who spoke of her late son, Patrick, who tragically lost his life at the age of 25 at the hands of a cell phone distracted driver and from Delphia Samuels describe how she and her family have suffered form the loss of her (then) 12 year old brother E'arron James Haley. Two lives, out of tens of thousands, who suffered preventable deaths due to distracted drivers.
The Florida House recently voted to pass legislation to make texting while driving a primary offense but the bill has met opposition in the Senate. Event organizer Mark Merwitzer, is a Palmetto Bay resident and Miami-Dade County Public Schools senior at the SAS, a top high school in the U.S. with locations at five MDC campuses. He has been advocating for the bill after seeing fellow teens and adults texting while driving.
I want to thank Mark Merwitzer, a Palmetto Bay resident, student of this outstanding school and a founding member of our Palmetto Bay Youth Community Involvement Board – Mark currently serves as chair of our Youth Board.
I also must thank all the students who work so hard on this and other issues that so PROFOUNDLY impact the lives of our youth. The Florida Legislature has pre-empted local governments on many issues, including anti-distracted legislation within their own jurisdictions. We therefore call upon the Florida Legislature to hear the pleas and act – let’s get Florida off the list of a mere 4 state (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. This was the 6th appearance for Mark on this blog, all related to his public service and advocacy, including how to navigate a traffic circle as well as fighting against distracted driving: Oct. 25, 2017, Driven (without distractions). YCIB Member Mark Merwitzer testifies before Senate Communications, Energy and Public Utilities Committee and Aug. 14, 2017: Traffic Circle Safety - Please take the time to view this creative video by Mark Merwitzer, Jackson Ribler & Justin Merwitzer. Edited and produced through the talents of "Miami Hal" Feldman.
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.