DATE: May 22, 2013
Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca, second from left, presents a proclamation to Indy Lights Driver Gabby Chaves, center.
MEDIA CONTACT: Kimberly Maroe, Public Information Manager
Broward County Board of County Commissioners
May is officially “Take 5 to Stay Alive. Don’t Text and Drive.” month in Broward County. Indy Lights Race car driver and Take 5 spokesperson Gabby Chaves made a visit to Broward last week to receive a proclamation from Broward County Commissioners who have been promoting the educational campaign that encourages people not to text while driving.
“This is an epidemic facing all ages, but our youth especially, because they do so many things with a phone, which includes texting while driving,” said Commissioner Chip LaMarca. “Increased awareness of this dangerous practice is the cornerstone to reduce injuries and deaths.”
In January, the Commission adopted a resolution regarding the dangers of texting and driving or attempting to read texts while driving.
“We started this a year ago and want to go to the state level now. Florida is one of four states that hasn't banned texting and driving yet,” said Chaves.
This past legislative session, lawmakers approved Florida’s first ever ban on texting and driving in the state. The texting ban legislation awaits the governor’s signature.
“I’m proud that Broward County has taken a lead in making sure people don't text while they drive. This is a culture of safety and we hope the entire state will follow suit. We did pass a bill. It’s not perfect, but it’s a start and we hope the governor will sign it,” Florida Sen. Maria Sachs told Commissioners.
The bill awaiting the governor’s signature makes texting and driving a secondary offense and calls for a $30 fine, plus court costs for a first time violation. A second violation would result in three points on the driver’s record plus a $60 fine and court costs if the driver is ticketed within five years of the first violation. The bill does allow drivers to text or email when stopped, such as at a red light.
"Take 5 to Stay Alive. Don’t Text and Drive." sponsors include the Broward County Commission and the Broward Regional EMS Council. The Leadership Broward Class XXXI also received a proclamation for creating a similar educational campaign named “Just Drive” and partnered with the School Board of Broward County to promote awareness through the distribution of literature, promotional items and T-shirts in public schools.