Letter to the Editor / Passage of House Bill 33 Can Help Save Lives

By: Donald J. Lee Jr., Chief of Police

Yesterday, eight people lost their lives. Eight sons, daughters, mothers and fathers were taken from their families and friends. Today, another eight were killed. Tomorrow, eight more.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, eight is the number of people who are killed each day in the U.S. due to distracted driving.

Since being appointed Chief of Police for the Key West Police Department more than nine years ago, I’m seeing more and more crashes, injuries and deaths as a result of distracted driving. That’s why the Florida Police Chiefs Association and my colleagues across the state urge lawmakers to pass House Bill 33 which would make texting while driving a primary offense. It has bipartisan support across the House and I’m hopeful our state legislature and Governor makes an enforceable ban on texting while driving the law in Florida.

Our role is to protect and serve. Our number one priority is public safety. Yet too many times our police officers have to knock on doors and share the heartbreaking news that a loved one has died in a car accident. More likely than not, distracted driving played a role. I cannot express how important this bill is for the safety of our community and state.

Not only will HB 33 make texting while driving a primary offense, it will mark a significant chapter in our state’s history in which our lawmakers champion the safety of Florida citizens.

With great hope for our future, I look forward to the swift passage of this bill and the day Governor Rick Scott signs this critical policy into law.