Channel 4 reports on a bill that will enact harsher punishments for distracted drivers. Rep. Irv Slosberg successfully put Florida’s first texting while driving laws on the books last year, making it a secondary offense, but now he wants to send offenders away for 30 years for killing while texting and driving. Hundreds of teens from around the state heard firsthand Wednesday what can happen to families when they drive drunk or distracted and what this bill aims to stop.
“It was scary, just seeing what not wearing one little strap can do to you,” said teen driver Gretchen Bethel. The harshest messages Wednesday came from families who’ve lost a loved one. Gary Catronio lost his daughter Marisa when an impaired driver drove the wrong way on the Sawgrass Expressway last November. “You knew you were in no proper state of mind or condition to drive that vehicle but you did it,” said Catrinio. “Because of that naivety that evening my daughter’s no longer with us. We only have memories.” Slosberg created a foundation after his daughter Dori was killed a decade ago. Now Slosberg has filed a bill that would put someone behind bars for up to 30 years if they kill someone while texting and driving. “You shouldn’t be texting and driving, it’s a free-for-all out there,” Slosberg said. Fraternity brothers who lost four of their own killed on Interstate 275 in a wrong way crash said they hope something positive comes from the deaths. “They’re the brothers we hang out with every day,” said Rah Patel, a University of South Florida student. “We saw them earlier that day and then to know you’ll never see them again is just an indescribable feeling.” Automated signs that flash and say call 911 will go up in Miami and Orlando early this summer. A similar pilot in Texas cut wrong way crashes by a third.
NHTSA reports that in 2010, nearly 3,100 were killed and another 416,000 injured nationwide because of distracted driving. There is no benefit to distracted driving – just tragedy. We all need to take responsibility of our own actions while driving. Every time a driver of a vehicle uses their cell phone while driving, they take their eyes off of the road prohibiting their ability to properly react to the predictable dangers of the road. Take it upon yourself to not be the cause of a preventable crash and put your cell phone away while driving.
If, however, you or someone you know has fallen victim to such negligence, then contact us at Edwards & Ragatz, P.A. We have the experience and skill set needed to make sure you are taken care post-accident. Personal injury cases can be tough, both emotionally and physically, and if handled improperly, financially too.