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Breakthrough in Anti Texting Legislation

October 24th, 2017 by Mike Vasilinda

There is new hope for anti texting legislation tonight. Legislation allowing police to ticket someone they see texting and driving has cleared it’s first committee in the state Capitol by a 6 to 2 vote.  And as Mike Vasilinda tells us, the man who has single handily blocked texting law changes is offering a compromise.

If a police officer pulled along side this texting driver, as we did, the officer still could not ticket her without finding another violation with which to pull her over. Advocates who have lost loved ones say the law makes no sense. Jennifer Smith is with StopDistractions,org

“We’re here to share our stories and the lives of the one’s you love” Smith said to open a news conference.

Families who have lost a loved one to texting and driving say it has got to stop.

Jodi Dominguez lost her son, a nuclear engineer in the Navy. while he was on his way home in Tampa to visit.

“It could save another mother to have to go through what I am going through” Dominguez told us.

Patricia Viccaro lost her son Michael while he was fishing from a bridge on his 25th birthday. She described the call from police.

“I said is my son dead. And he said, I’m sorry to say. That was my call. 4:30 in the morning” says Vaccaro.

Steve Augello lost his high school senior on her way home from rehersing a school play.

“She wanted to be a journalist. She was accepted at St. Leo’s College, and she was getting all ready to go to college” Steve told us with tears in his eyes.

Their persistence is paying off.

The man who has successfully blocked tougher texting laws because he doesn’t want pope looking in your phone, now says he’ll support tough penalties for all distracted driving.

Rep. Jose Oliva is set to be the next Speaker of the House. He wants more than just tickets for people texting and driving.

“So I’m fully supporting a driving while distracted law. I think that’s a good thing and it’s necessary. Isolating it to one of many apps on a phone, I think is short sited” says the next House Speaker.

Oliva’s support is a major break through for families who’ve lost a loved one, and for drivers everywhere.

Traffic deaths are up over 20 percent between 2013 and 15. Insurance rates are up 16 percent, in part, say insurers, because of the increase in traffic accidents.

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