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Mark_Merwitzer 1 point

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.

chrisucf 2 points

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?

Mark_Merwitzer 2 points

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.

FireHurtingJuice 3 points

My favorite question of the bunch. In committee, a Florida Highway Patrol Chief testified on how this law will be proven in court. It is pretty easy for a trained highway officer to know when someone is entering numerous characters onto a mobile device. All they have to do is issue the citation and testify in court about it. If the case turns into a police officer's word versus a defendant's, the court may subpoena the defendant's time stamps of their text messages and phone usage.

This is the only thing I have a problem with. I use my phone for music all the time. If I was pulled over, I'm not going to argue. Just write me for whatever you'd like to write me for please. But then you will have an officer say they saw me texting, even if I wasn't. How is that fair? How can they prove that? Seriously.

Furthermore, text messages aren't the only way people message eachother. People use Snapchat and Facebook Messenger all the time. You aren't going to see those messages from your carrier.

I just don't know the solution.

Mark_Merwitzer 2 points

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.

FireHurtingJuice 1 point

This is a complicated issue. I don't agree with everything you're pushing, but it is goddamn patriotic that you are doing what you're doing. It's a good feeling to be part of the process, right? There are so many people who whine on Facebook and yet wouldn't even consider writing their legislators. That's because what you're doing is difficult. It's people like you that are willing to change the laws. So thank you.

Mark_Merwitzer 2 points

Thank you for your kind words and support!

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About mark_merwitzer

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