Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Dr. Delay: Senator determined to pass ban on texting while driving

The Doc has been following recent doings in Tallahassee related to a bill filed by Sen. Nancy Detert, R-Venice, who is once again trying to pass legislation that bans texting while operating a vehicle on Florida roads.

Opponents say such a law would infringe on the rights and privacy of individuals. But what about the rights of everyone who uses the road and wants to do so without having to dodge weaving vehicles whose drivers have their faces glued to their smartphones? If texting creates the level of distraction that equals impairment, as some experts claim, why shouldn't it be banned?

Such a ban might not affect the behavior of drivers who can't seem to put the phone down. The Doc thinks some folks are addicted to fiddling with their phones to the extent that they would be unfazed by risking a $30 fine for a first-time offense and $60 for a second one. But the fact that 35 other states have passed varying types of texting bans speaks volumes.

Senate Bill 416 has made it through three committees with little opposition, and a companion bill has been introduced by Rep. Ray Pilon, R-Sarasota. Pilon's bill has gotten little attention, and Detert's three previous attempts at getting a ban passed have failed, but she remains undeterred. She says if the bill fails this year, she'll propose it again. And again after that. Stay tuned.

Barricade watch

It's that time of year for special events. Here are a few that will require road closures.

• Preparations for this year's Grand Prix of St. Petersburg (March 23-25) began last week with the closure of Bayshore Drive SE. Southbound Bayshore Drive will be accessible to local traffic only at First Avenue SE and eastbound Dalí Boulevard/Fifth Avenue S at First Street. St. Petersburg police officials said this week that this section of Bayshore will be closed to unauthorized traffic so work crews can prepare for track construction.

The next phase of preparation will begin this week: construction of the pit lane and grandstands in Albert Whitted Park.

• This weekend's Clearwater Sea-Blues Festival will close Drew Street from Osceola Avenue to Cleveland Street through Tuesday. Traffic will be detoured via Pierce Street.

• The Dunedin Mardi Gras parade and celebration will close streets in the downtown area from 7 a.m. Tuesday through about 3 a.m. Wednesday. Closures will affect Main Street from Broadway to Highland Avenue as well as Virginia Lane and Douglas Avenues.

• Clearwater's Blast Friday, this Friday, will close Cleveland Street from the waterfront to Fort Harrison Avenue and Garden Avenue at Cleveland Street from noon to 11:30 p.m.

Belcher noise

Through March 2 expect potentially loud construction noise from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m. along the southbound lanes of Belcher Road between East Bay Drive and 118th Avenue. Pinellas County is working on the water mains.

Email Ask Dr. Delay at to share your traffic concerns, comments and questions or follow Dr. Delay on Twitter @AskDrDelay. Questions selected for publication may be edited for space and clarity.

Dr. Delay: Senator determined to pass ban on texting while driving 02/18/12 [Last modified: Saturday, February 18, 2012 3:30am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Kremlin dismisses U.S. warning of chemical attack in Syria (w/video)


    .1103< AP-EU-Russia-Syria,252

    Eds: Rewrites top.

    MOSCOW (AP) — The Kremlin on Tuesday dismissed the White House's warning that the Syrian government is preparing a new chemical attack and that President Bashar Assad and his military "will pay a heavy price" if it goes ahead.

    In this photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, Syrian President Bashar Assad, third right, prays on the first day of Eid al-Fitr, that marks the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, at the Nouri Mosque in Hama, Syria, Sunday, June 25, 2017. [SANA via AP]
  2. EU announces record $2.7 billion antitrust fine on Google over search results


    BRUSSELS — The European Union's antitrust chief announced a record $2.7 billion fine against Google on Tuesday, saying that the powerful company illegally steered users toward its comparison shopping website.

    The European Union's competition watchdog has slapped a record 2.42 billion euro ($2.72 billion) fine on internet giant Google for breaching antitrust rules with its online shopping service. [Associated Press file photo]
  3. Forecast: Muggy, warm conditions across Tampa Bay as afternoon storms stay mostly east of I-75


    A muggy and slightly wet day is in on tap for Tampa Bay as most of the rain sticks east of Interstate 75 in the afternoon.

    Tampa Bay's 7 day forecast. [WTSP]
  4. Trigaux: No more VinikVille as Water Street Tampa finally arrives


    Adios, VinikVille! Hello Water Street Tampa.

    An aerial rendering of the $3 billion redevelopment project that Jeff Vinik and Strategic Property Partners plan on 50-plus acres around Amalie Arena.&#13;[Rendering courtesy of Strategic Property Partners]&#13;
  5. Finally, Jeff Vinik's vision has a name: Water Street Tampa


    TAMPA — For years, Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik and the real estate executives he employs have been dreaming how to transform 53 acres of downtown Tampa into a major hub of living, working and entertaining in the city's core.

    Strategic Property Partners announced the name of its new development: Water Street Tampa. This rendering shows the Tampa skyline with SPP's future buildings in place. [Photos courtesy of SPP]