Florida bills cover daylight saving time, road safety

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | 9/13/2013

If a Florida state lawmaker gets his way, daylight saving time would become permanent in the state. Another lawmaker has multiple bills aimed at improving safety on roadways.

Federal law allows states and territories to decide whether to recognize daylight-saving time for a portion of the year or all of the year. Arizona and Hawaii are the lone states not to observe time changes.

Sen. Darren Soto, D-Orlando, has prefiled the “Sunshine Protection Act” for consideration during the 2014 regular session that would make the time change permanent in July 2014.

Another lawmaker wants to cut down on distracted driving on Florida’s roadways.

Rep. Irv Slosberg, D-Boca Raton, filed a bill for consideration next year that would prohibit the state’s youngest drivers from talking on the phone while driving. Text messaging while behind the wheel would also be off limits for affected drivers.

The push follows approval of a texting-while-driving ban in the state that takes effect in October. The new rule makes the distracting activity a secondary offense, meaning drivers of all ages could be cited only if they were pulled over for another reason, such as speeding.

Slosberg’s bill is focused on drivers under the age of 18.

One more bill from Slosberg would provide emergency responders with access to critical medical information in the moments following vehicle wrecks.

Counties would be authorized to set up a yellow dot decal program to help ensure proper medical treatment in situations where wreck victims may not be able to speak or are otherwise unresponsive.

Similar opt-in programs are available in more than 20 states, including Connecticut, New York and Pennsylvania.

The Florida program would provide emergency responders with critical health information for drivers who sign up for the program.

Program materials would include a yellow decal for the side window, a health information card, a yellow envelope and program instructions.

Supporters say that the first moments following a serious wreck are crucial, especially when someone has unique medical needs.

The bills can be considered during the session that begins in March 2014.

To view other legislative activities of interest for Florida, click here.

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