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Comment deleted6 months ago
Original Poster1 point · 6 months ago

Who is really behind the curtains? Is it insurance companies wanting to ban texting and driving to increase their rates?

No one is behind the curtains. What really got this bill moving was the support from numerous local governments and the voices of parents who lost loved ones from texting while driving.

One family that comes to mind is Debbie and Rik Wanninkhof.

Debbie and Rik Wanninkhof’s son Patrick died at the age of 25 at the hands of a cell phone distracted driver. He was a son, a brother, a teacher, a musician, a friend and an incredible human being.

Patrick got on his bicycle in June of 2015 to ride for and to build affordable housing for those who needed it most. On July 30, 2015 he was killed by a woman who was distracted by her phone while driving.

Yet Debbie and Rik turned their grief into something extraordinary. They went up to Tallahassee with me and shared their story with many Representatives and the House Transportation&Infrastructure Subcommittee.

Wow, it sucks to see such negativity. Good for you for fighting for a cause and making a difference! How did you get involved with this issue in the first place, and how are you funded?

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Original Poster2 points · 6 months ago

My initial concern began when I was a passenger in my dad’s car driving on the MacArthur Causeway. I sat in the car shocked and concerned for my safety, and that of others, as cars were swerving in and out of lanes, a result of distracted drivers with their heads down and texting.

The extent of this problem was made clearer to me when one morning I saw teenage drivers failing to control their vehicles on their way to school. I knew that texting behind the wheel was the culprit of their dangerous driving when I saw the glow of their phone through their back window. My dad told me I could do one of two things: be a part of the problem and do nothing, or take action and find a solution. I decided to find a solution and after my initial research, I felt the broader community needed to know about the lack of a texting while driving ban. Knowing that lives are on the line, especially those that I know personally, inspired me to work with my school, community, and state to address the issue of texting while driving.

How are you funded?

I am not funded by anyone. I am doing this because I feel this law would improve the community and save lives.


Hello Reddit, I am the Youngest Lobbyist in the State of Florida. I am Fighting to Ban Texting While Driving! AMA!

My name is Mark Merwitzer. I am a 17-year-old high school student who has been working for the past 18 months with local and state legislators to make texting while driving a primary offense in the state of Florida.

This Tuesday I had the privilege of testifying before the Florida House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee in support of House Bill 33. House Bill 33 makes texting while driving a primary offense, which gives police officers the ability to pull over and issue citations to drivers who are texting behind the wheel. I have also been pushing Senate Bill 90, the Senate companion bill to House Bill 33 in the Senate Transportation Committee.

To push for this primary ban I have been working extremely closely with Miami-Dade County and other municipalities. By pushing them to pass urgings and hire lobbyist to support this initiative, the Florida legislature has seen a massive push from numerous local governments across Florida. Their voices are strongly considered as they contribute a tremendous amount to the state tax pool.

With this amount of heavy support, texting while driving is highly likely to become a primary offense this year. I feel I am knowledgeable about the Florida political climate and what it is like to get a bill through the Florida Legislature.

Thank you very much in advance for your interest, I look forward to your questions. AMA! My Proof

More Proof

Please consider supporting my efforts Here. I am only a student and flights to Tallahassee extremely expensive, with the notice I receive. Thank you very much in advance!

Update: I am signing off for now. Thank you very much for all your questions. I will answer any questions you leave tomorrow.

Comment deleted6 months ago
Original Poster2 points · 6 months ago

That is one of the main things I have been working on. I am currently working with the bill sponsor to make it so you can voluntarily enter the time stamps of your phone records into evidence to prove your innocence.

Comment deleted6 months ago
Original Poster2 points · 6 months ago

Thank you for your kind words and support!

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