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Texting Drivers Delaying Emergency Vehicles

December 27th, 2016 by Mike Vasilinda

Texting and driving can be deadly for those not paying attention and others on the road, but as Mike Vasilinda tells us, it could also be a problem for someone miles away.

Just about every time engineer David Morrison wheels out of the firehouse with lights flashing and sirens blaring, he’s delayed by someone texting or on the phone who are clueless who don’t even know he’s there.

“We see absolutely everyday” says Morrison. “Almost overtime we take this fire engine out of the station, we come across someone that just isn’t paying attention, whether it be on their phone or  something else.”

State Senator Renee Garcia has filed legislation to make texting for drivers under 18 a primary offense. That means they can be ticketed without committing any other infraction. For adults, texting and driving would remain a secondary offense, punishable by a thirty dollar fine. Garcia decided to file the legislation after a hard earned personal lesson.

“I got on my phone and started texting and I hit th guardrail going into the highway’ says the bill sponsor. “That’s the movement I said I’m going to stop texting and driving, and I think people need to be aware of the importance of having this bill.”

Lawmakers have balked at making texting a primary offense over privacy and profiling  concerns. Garcia concedes passing it could be a heavy lift.

Has a texting driver kept a firetruck from getting somewhere timely, yes. Did it matter? Nobody knows.

“Absolutely we see it everyday where the fire engine does not get to the scene as quickly as possible because we were slowed down by a distracted driver” says Engineer Morrison.

Lawmakers begin committee meetings on January 9th. their annual session begins in early March.

Texting is responsible for six thousand deaths nationally. In Florida, at least one firefighting agency has started a campaign called “stop the texts, stop the wrecks.Firefighters do ask that once you know they are being you, that you pull over to the right, leaving the left lane for them to maneuver through traffic.

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