public safety

Brightline started test-running trains in 2017. That route now runs from downtown Miami to West Palm Beach. 

Since then, more than 28 people have been struck and killed by Brightline trains. Federal Railroad Administration records go through the end of August. There have been more deaths this fall.

Senators Seek Update On School Safety

Sep 10, 2019
Empty classroom with chalkboard on wall

The Senate Education Committee is scheduled next week to discuss how new school-security measures are being carried out by school districts, as lawmakers start holding committee meetings in advance of the 2020 legislative session.

Katie Betta, a Senate spokeswoman, said in an email that the purpose of the meeting is to provide an update on the implementation of major school-security bills passed in 2018 and 2019.

The Florida legislature is moving forward with a bill that aims to make first responders more efficient. 

Why Pedestrian Deaths Are At A 30-Year High

Mar 28, 2019

Across the U.S., 6,227 pedestrians died in traffic accidents in 2018, the highest number in nearly 30 years. The findings from a Governors Highway Safety Association report show that many of these deaths occurred in big cities like Houston and Miami.

The signs are all over most cities — stretches of road without crosswalks and people needing to walk on roads built for rush-hour traffic. But the real increase, experts say, comes from larger trends: drivers and pedestrians distracted by their phones and a growth of larger vehicles on the road.

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) and U.S. Representative Frederica S. Wilson (D-Miami) have introduced the Safe Temperature Act and re-introduced the Liberty City Rising Act, two pieces of legislation designed to address safety concerns in low income communities.

Touching a cell phone while driving could soon be against Florida law. That's if a bill a Tampa lawmaker plans to introduce passes muster in the legislature.

The bill by Tampa Republican Jackie Toledo would mean law enforcement could pull you over just for being on your phone. Now, you have to have to be pulled over for another infraction first in order to be charged with texting while driving.

Toledo says accident death rates in Georgia have gone down by 25 percent after that state banned hands-on cellphone use in July.

On Sunday, three teenage boys accused of stealing cars from a Clearwater dealership died in a high speed crash. This comes in the wake of a growing trend of teen car thefts in Pinellas County.

It’s now legal for people to carry a gun without a concealed permit during a declared state of emergency. That’s among more than 40 bills Governor Scott signed into law Thursday.

A House measure placing greater restrictions on the use of red light cameras passed its first committee this week.  While it differs from a similar proposal in the Senate, the arguments against it sound about the same.

Sen. Jeff Brandes (R-St.Petersburg) is shepherding a bill through the Senate that calls for new requirements on red light cameras.  Namely, jurisdictions that employ cameras would need to submit annual reports and show they’ve already tried alternative safety measures before setting up any new ones. 

Florida Highway Patrol

Since February, there have been five wrong-way crashes that have caused 11 deaths on highways in the Tampa area.

We will take an in-depth look at this apparent outbreak of crashes this week on Florida Matters on Tuesday, Oct. 7 at 6:30 p.m. and Sunday, Oct. 12 at 7:30 a.m. on WUSF 89.7 FM.

According to transportation experts and law enforcement, alcohol plays a huge role in the fatal wrong-way crashes.

Associated Press

The Florida Senate is again considering new safety regulations for parasailing operators in the wake of high-profile deaths and accidents, the News Service of Florida reports. The past six years, the parasailing industry has opposed changes saying it would increase costs. But now, the Water Sports Industry Association supports rules that would prevent parasailing during high winds and when lightning is nearby.

Tampa Bay Times

Starting Oct. 1, it will be against the law to drive and text in the state of Florida, the Tampa Bay Times reports. But some lawmakers are worried drivers won’t realize the ban has kicked in, since Gov. Rick Scott vetoed $1 million in funding for a public safety campaign to promote the law.

To curb drunken driving, the federal National Transportation Safety Board has voted to recommend that states tighten the legal limit for drivers' blood alcohol.

The threshold now for drunken driving is a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08. (The BAC equals alcohol divided by the volume of blood it's in.)

The NTSB would push for it to be lowered to 0.05, in line with the limits in countries such as Denmark, the Philippines and Switzerland.

Miami New Times

The body count is rising on this U.S. island as narcotics headed for Miami and other East Coast cities move through, Miami New Times reports. Puerto Ricans horrified by a murder rate seven times the national average are fleeing -- many to Florida.   

Lawmakers think this could be the year they actually pass a ban on texting-while-driving, the Lakeland Ledger reports.

Yesterday’s two-hour hearing is more than lawmakers have given similar proposals in previous sessions, the Ledger reports.

A naked man who apparently climbed over a high fence at a house in Miami was discovered choking the pet Rottweiler, then bit the dog’s owner, who shot him in the foot, the Miami Herald reports.

Despite the gunshot wound, 20-year-old Jeffery Delice kept attacking, according to the Herald, and tried to bite officers who responded to the scene.