WKMG News 6 hosted a special Town Hall Forum to discuss the growing public frustration and needed changes to Florida’s texting and driving laws on Wednesday January 11th . The program was broadcast on ClickOrlando.com. Anchor Matt Austin is promoting a driving change initiative. He suffered a concussion in September while sitting at a stoplight when his vehicle was hit by a texting driver.
“As we have started researching current Florida laws regarding texting and driving, we have run across the stumbling blocks lawmakers and advocates have been dealing with,” Austin said in a statement. “We thought the best way to approach these issues would be to get important players together in one room. When people watch this town hall, they may be shocked to find out the different reasons Florida lawmakers are so far behind the rest of the country when it comes to protecting their constituents from distracted driving.”
Smart phones are playing a greater role in our daily lives. But despite the many benefits, they also invite disruptiveness and distraction.
According to the CDC, a person texting is six times more likely to cause an accident than someone who is driving drunk. In 2015, 39,468 Floridians were injured and 216 more were killed because of distracted drivers. Fatalities in the state related to distracted drivers have increased more than ten-fold between 2011 and 2015.
The simple truth is that prioritizing enforcement of Florida’s driving and texting law will save lives.
Guests for Wednesday night's town hall include Brett Railey, who is the former Chief of the Winter Park Police Department; Sgt. Kim Montes of the Florida Highway Patrol; and Chief Jeffrey Chudnow of the Oviedo Police Department.