For Immediate Release
Thursday, May 17, 2019
FL DNT TXTNDRV COALITION Heralds Governor Ron DeSantis for Signing Texting While Driving Legislation into Florida Law
Tallahassee, Fla. – The FL DNT TXTNDRV COALITION, consisting of a group of law enforcement organizations, businesses and local governments supporting legislation to stop texting while driving, today heralded Governor Ron DeSantis for signing legislation into Florida law that will make texting while driving a primary offense, as well as create a hands-free area within school zones and construction zones where workers are present.
House Bill 107, relating to Texting While Driving, was sponsored by Senator Wilton Simpson in the Florida Senate and co-sponsored by Representatives Jackie Toledo and Emily Slosberg in the Florida House of Representatives. HB 107 will take effect on July 1, 2019.
Senator Simpson said, “This commonsense legislation will save lives and I am incredibly grateful to my partners in the legislature and to Governor DeSantis for taking this important step toward making Florida’s roads safer.”
Representative Toledo, said, “I’m thankful for Governor DeSantis’ support in making the safety of Floridians a priority. This commonsense legislation will address a growing epidemic and ultimately save lives. The measure will give law enforcement the tools they need to make our roads safer while acting as a deterrent to get people to put down their phones and concentrate on driving.”
Representative Richard Stark, who was a co-sponsor of HB 107 this year and sponsor in previous years, said, “Distracted driving, especially texting while driving, has created hazardous conditions that law enforcement has been unable to control. With the passage by the Florida Legislature and signing of the new distracted driving legislation by the Governor, Floridians can be assured that real efforts are being made to improve road safety conditions.”
Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer said, “This is an important step in our efforts to reduce the number of injuries and deaths caused by distracted driving. The City of Orlando is committed to making our community a safer place to walk, bike and drive and this legislation will go a long way towards helping meet the city’s Vision Zero goal of eliminating traffic deaths and serious injuries by 2040.”
FL DNT TXTNDRV COALITION Coordinator Keyna Cory said, “On behalf of the FL DNT TXTNDRV Coalition, representing thousands of Floridians, we want to thank Governor Ron DeSantis for signing HB 107 today. Thanks to the bi-partisan support in the House and Senate, texting while driving will become a primary offense. The coalition has been working on this issue since 2013 when the first law regarding texting while driving passed and became law. Today, we stand with the Governor and Legislature in an effort to make Florida’s highways and neighborhood streets safer for all.”
Debbie Wanninkhof, mother of Patrick Wanninkhof who was killed by a cell phone distracted driver said, “Texting While Driving as a Primary Offense with Hands Free in School Zones and Work Zones is soon to become law in Florida. Twenty-one million Florida drivers, 116 million yearly visitors, pedestrians and cyclists will be safer on our roads because of it. The goal is to deter offenders and change the culture around distracted driving, making it unacceptable just like drunk driving. We all need to be committed to road safety to protect everyone in our state.”
Dori Streeter, mother of daughter involved in a distracted driving incident said, “I live in Plant City, Florida. The most dangerous highway in America runs through our beautiful country town and traffic fatalities along the Interstate 4 corridor are unbelievable. Six years ago, my daughter and her friends were hit directly head-on at 60 mph by a driver driving in the left lane on a county road. They have lifetime injuries but we are blessed to have them here. I have been on a personal mission for two and a half years to help combat the dangerous driving epidemic. Thanks to all who are working so hard for this most important cause and God bless all that are affected by these horrific traffic accidents.”
American Property Casualty Insurance Association Regional Manager Logan McFaddin said, “Strong auto safety laws and enforcement are an important step in combatting a growing distracted driving epidemic that is endangering everyone on the road. Governor DeSantis and members of the Florida Legislature made history today by signing into law legislation that will make texting while driving a primary offense and create a hands-free zone within school and work areas. When this law goes into effect on July 1, 2019, our roadways will be safer and lives will be saved. We congratulate Senator Simpson and Representatives Toledo and Slosberg for their unwavering commitment to see this legislation through in order to save lives.”
FSU Police Chief and Florida Police Chiefs Association President David Perry said, “By signing HB 107, the distracted driving bill, Governor Ron DeSantis just saved countless lives. The Florida Police Chiefs Association applauds Governor DeSantis and the Florida Legislature for working together to help law enforcement better protect the public we serve, and ensuring drivers keep both hands on the wheel and their eyes on the road. We especially want to thank the bill sponsors, Senator Wilton Simpson, Representative Jackie Toledo, and Representative Emily Slosberg, for their hard work and commitment to public safety.”
Florida Sheriffs Association President and Columbia County Sheriff Mark Hunter said, “Distracted driving is truly a killer. Sending or reading a text can take your eyes off the road for 5 seconds–at 55 mph, that’s like driving the length of an entire football field with your eyes closed. The Sheriffs of Florida are committed to protecting our citizens and visitors. Enforcing the crime of texting while driving as a primary offense, rather than a secondary offense, is essential because it will allow law enforcement to enforce the law and save lives in the process. We applaud the Florida Legislature for focusing on safety on our roadways.”
Florida PTA Vice President of Education Development Angie Gallo said, “The roads just became safer for the drivers of Florida, especially our youth. Florida PTA firmly believes that making texting while driving a primary offense will force drivers to put their phone down and save lives. We would like to thank Governor DeSantis for signing this great bill and are so appreciative of everyone who made this day possible.”
Uber Global Policy Lead of Road & Traffic Safety Nadia Anderson said, “At Uber, we are committed to safety and doing our part to help reduce the number of crashes on Florida roads. We commend Governor DeSantis for signing HB 107, which is intended to make our roads safer.”
AutoNation Executive Chairman Mike Jackson said, “As the country’s largest automotive retailer, the safety of the driving public is of primary concern to us. In fact, we have lobbied for years to make texting while driving a primary offense in the state of Florida. ‘DRV SFE’ is part of the AutoNation brand message and it’s something that we take very seriously as a company.”
NAMIC Southeast Regional Vice President Liz Reynolds said, “Thanks to the governor’s signing of this important bill, Floridians will no longer be able to text and drive with abandon. We sincerely hope that with this new law, knowing that they now can be cited for distracted driving as a primary offense, Florida’s drivers will finally put down their phones, pay attention to the road, and increase safety for everyone.”
Sentry Insurance Government Affairs Regional Director BG Murphy said, “Distracted driving has serious implications for our insureds and all Floridians who share roadways across the state. We commend Governor Ron DeSantis and the Florida Legislature for taking the appropriate steps to curb distracted driving which will ultimately make our roadways safer.”
National Waste & Recycling Association FL Chapter Chair Charlie Latham said, “Safety is a high priority for the members of National Waste & Recycling Association. Too many of our workers have been killed or injured by people distracted while driving. Making texting while driving a primary offense will help keep our employees safe while they are on the streets.”
Naples Pathway Coalition Executive Director Michelle Avola said, “Distracted driving has become an epidemic, normalized in today’s culture. This legislation is an important step that will lead to lives being saved. Thank you, Governor DeSantis, for signing into law this legislation that will motivate drivers to put down their phones and focus on the road.”
Personal Insurance Federation of Florida President Michael Carlson said, “We applaud the Governor for swiftly signing a bill that makes an immediate, lifesaving impact. Technology often moves faster than our laws, and this will go a long way in setting the tone for safety and protecting generations of Floridians.”
Blue Zones Project – SWFL Community Policy Specialist Jessica Crane said, “Florida continues to top lists as being the most dangerous state for pedestrians and bicyclists. We appreciate the legislators for taking this necessary step in an effort to make our roads safer for all modalities.”
Chemours FL Plant Manager Nicole Newell said, “Our goal is to make Florida’s roads safer. Texting and driving is an epidemic on our roadways, and we want to do our part to help put an end to it.”
Advocate and Sophomore at the University of Florida Mark Merwitzer said, “I am beyond joyed to see this commonsense and life-saving bill pass this year. As a member of a generation that uses smartphones the most, it is imperative that we show my colleagues how to properly and safely use technology behind the wheel, which is not using it at all.”
WKMG-TV News 6 Anchor Matt Austin said, “It was a long and hard fight. But now after nearly three years, 100 stories, more than a dozen trips to Tallahassee, and thousands of miles driving around Florida to track down decision makers, I am relieved Florida politicians finally did the right thing. They made safety a priority. We had to ask our elected officials tough questions and demand answers. When they tried to sidetrack the answers, we drove back to Tallahassee until they answered and began working on solutions. It was about holding them accountable until they could no longer back down.”
# # #
CS/SB 76 by Senator Simpson, Co-Sponsors: Cruz, Hooper, Mayfield, Passidomo, Perry, Rouson &Taddeo
HB 107 by Rep. Toledo & Slosberg, Co -Sponsors: Beltran, Caruso, Casello, Cortes, Duran, Eskamani, Gottlieb, Grieco, Hattersley, Joseph, Killebrew, Massullo, Jr., McClure, Overdorf, Polo, Polsky, Santiago, Smith (C), Stark, Stevenson, Thompson, Tomkow, Webb
“Florida Driving While Distracted Law”
Did you know …
• Texting, posting and other phone distractions cause 1.6 million accidents per year,
11 teen deaths each day and nearly 1,200 injuries each day.
• Reading a text message while driving distracts a driver for about 5 seconds. In five seconds,
at 55 mph you will cover the length of a football field as if blindfolded.
• Texting while driving makes you 23X more likely to have a crash and teen drivers are four
times more likely than adults to crash while texting.
• Texting and driving is the equivalent of driving after having had four beers and you are six
more times likely to cause an accident than driving while drunk.
• 77 percent of adult drivers and 55 percent of teenage drivers say they can easily manage
texting while driving.
In an effort to make our roads safer, a coalition of law enforcement organizations, businesses and local governments have joined together in support of legislation to stop texting while driving.
Florida took the first step in banning texting while driving in 2013 but now it’s time to strengthen the law. That is why we are supporting SB 76 and HB 107 “Florida Driving While Distracted Law.” A hands-free law in the state of Florida is critical so that lives will be saved.
Currently there are 16 states that have enacted a “hands-free” law. The most recent state enacting the law was Georgia in 2018.
While anything that takes your eyes off the road, hands off the wheel, or mind off the task of driving for an unreasonable amount of time can be hazardous, there is heightened concern about the risks of texting while driving because it combines all three types of distraction – manual, cognitive and visual.
For more information about the FL DNT TXT N DRV COALITION
Contact Keyna Cory – email@example.com
i National Safety council www.nsc.org
ii Virginia Tech Transportation Institute Research www.vtti.vt.edu
UF Student Senate Resolution 2019-105
Starting this summer, texting while driving could cost you money and points on your license. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed a bill into law on Friday that makes texting while driving a primary offense rather than a secondary offense.
Yesterday, eight people lost their lives. Eight sons, daughters, mothers and fathers were taken from their families and friends. Today, another eight were killed. Tomorrow, eight more.
Florida is one of the most lenient states in the nation when it comes to texting and driving, and crashes are skyrocketing as people take their eyes off the road. Legislation to make Florida’s law tougher has failed repeatedly…
List of Resolutions
(As of January 4, 2018)
|Brevard||August 8, 2017|
|Broward||August 22, 2017|
|Calhoun||July 25, 2017|
|Citrus||August 8, 2017|
|Duval||August 23, 2017|
|Franklin||August 15, 2017|
|Glades||August 8, 2017|
|Leon||October 10, 2017|
|Levy||August 8, 2017|
|Manatee||July 25, 2017|
|Marion||August 1, 2017|
|Martin||September 26, 2017|
|Miami-Dade||October 3, 2017|
|Okaloosa||January 3, 2018|
|Okechobee||August 10, 2017|
|City of Boca Raton||July 25, 2017|
|City of Boyton Beach||August 15, 2017|
|City of Delray Beach||August 2, 2017|
|City of Margate||September 6, 2017|
|City of Marianna||September 5, 2017|
|City Of Miami||July 12, 2017|
|City of Oldsmar||October 3, 2017|
|City of Parkland||August 16, 2017|
|Town of Ponce Inlet||September 21, 2017|
|City of Weston||August 21, 2017|
|City of Winter Haven||October 24, 2017|
|FL Police Chiefs Assn.||October 12, 2017|
of the Coalition
FL DNT TXT N DRIVE COALITION members include:
Anthony Phoenix Branca Foundation – APB Foundation
American Property Casualty Insurance Association (APCI)
American Society of Safety Engineers
Asphalt Contractors Association
Bell Concrete Products
BETER Mix Inc
Bike/Walk Central Florida
Blue Zones Project of SWFL
Central Florida Expressway (CFX)
City of Fort Myers
City of Lake Helen
City of Margate
City of Orlando
City of Pembroke Pines
Coconut Creek Police Department
Concrete Coalition of Florida (CCF)
Concrete On Call Inc
Florida Academy of Physician Assistants
Florida A.G.C. Council
Florida Asphalt Contractors Association
Florida Bicycle Association
Florida Chapter of American Academy of Pediatrics
Florida Chapter of the American College of Physicians
Florida Chapter of the American College of Surgeons
Florida College of Emergency Physicians
Florida Committee on Trauma
Florida Concrete & Products Association
Florida Independent Concrete & Associated Products Association
Florida Insurance Council
Florida Neurosurgery Society
Florida Orthopedic Society
Florida Police Chiefs Association
FL Swimming Pool Association
Florida Public Health Association
Florida Public Transportation Association
Florida Roof Deck Association
Florida Sheriffs Association
Florida Fire Sprinkler Association
Florida Transportation Builders’ Association
Florida Work Zone Safety Coalition
Griswold Ready Mix Concrete
Lee County Commission
Maschmeyer Concrete Company of FL
Masonry Association of Florida (MAF)
Milton Police Department
Naples City Council
Naples Pathways Coalition
National Association of Credit Management- Improved
Construction Practices Committee (NACM-ICPC)
National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies
National Safety Council
National Waste & Recycling Association
Nationwide Insurance Company
North Florida Transportation Planning Organization
Oviedo Police Department
Parliament Building Products
Personal Insurance Federation of Florida
Polk Transportation Planning Organization
Polk Vision’s Pedestrian Bicycle Safety Team
Punta Gorda Police Department
Quality Block & Supply, Inc.
Quality Precast Co.
R & R Rebar Fabricators, Inc.
Southwestern Suppliers, Inc.
Streets Alive of SWFL
The Blue Zones Project of SWFL
Town of Ponce Inlet
Town of Southwest Ranches
University of Florida Student Senate
Walk Bike Tampa
Walt Disney World Resort
For more information about the
FL DNT TXT N DRV COALITION
Contact Keyna Cory –
As advocates for the well-being of every child, the Florida Parent Teacher Association (PTA) firmly believes that distracted driving, especially texting while driving, is a serious threat to the safety of children and youth. The number of teens dying every day as a result of this dangerous behavior is especially alarming. All drivers have a responsibility to operate their vehicles safely and by making texting while driving a primary offense, there will be a more appropriate level of awareness and accountability. No text is worth the life of child.
On behalf of more than 2.8 million AARP Florida members, we thank state lawmakers for taking an important step toward safer roads for all of us,” said Jeff Johnson, AARP’s Florida state director. “As of 2016, 46 states, along with District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the US Virgin Islands, ban text messaging for all drivers. We want to thank Sen. Wilton Simpson and Reps. Jackie Toledo & Emily Slosberg, who have been persistent, persuasive and ultimately successful in their fight for this legislation
Not even the most sophisticated automobile safety features can protect us from some of the biggest hazards on the roads today, including the ubiquitous use of smartphones behind the wheel. Distracted driving is a leading cause of the rise in crashes. To reverse this trend, our driving habits and traffic laws must change. As we turn our focus to the 2019 legislative session, auto insurers will continue efforts with the FL DNT TXT N DRV Coalition to educate policymakers on the importance of instituting laws prohibiting distracted driving and keeping Florida roads safe.
PCI is a proud supporter of the Florida Don’t Text and Drive Coalition and supports legislation that helps improve safety and reduce costs. The distracted driving epidemic must be addressed. We need to change driver behavior, and we believe toughening the distracted driving laws in Florida will save lives by encouraging people to think twice about picking up the phone while driving.
Safety is a high priority for the members of NWRA. Too many of our workers have been killed or injured by people distracted while driving. Making texting while driving a primary offense will help keep our employees safe while they are on the streets
Our goal is to make Florida’s roads safer. Texting and driving is an epidemic on our roadways, and we want to do our part to help put an end to it
The Florida Police Chiefs Association is fully supportive of a hands-free law while driving as a crucial step toward making Florida’s roads safer. Distracted driving is incredibly dangerous, not only for our drivers but also for our officers out on the road, protecting our citizens.
The Florida Sheriffs Association supports this legislation and hopes it will encourage drivers to focus on their responsibility to operate vehicles in a safe manner on Florida highways. Distracted driving is a serious public safety issue and hopefully this will send a message to the public that this is a traffic safety priority for law enforcement throughout the state.
The Florida Work Zone Safety Coalition would like to thank Senator Simpson and all sponsors who are supporting this most important bill. Attentive driving is critical to ensuring everyone is safe on Florida’s roads, for both our construction workers and the traveling public. Because we know texting while driving is a proven hazard, all efforts to reduce it will improve safety on Florida’s roads.