Wednesday, May 23, 2018
Transportation

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 [email protected] 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.

Comments
She was looking at paperwork to buy a car. Then she had to confirm that she was not a robot.

She was looking at paperwork to buy a car. Then she had to confirm that she was not a robot.

Marci Robin was reviewing the usual paperwork when she was about to buy her Fiat 500X from a West Palm Beach car dealership on Tuesday.Then she had to verify, in person via pen and paper, that she was not a robot, Jalopnik reported.I bought a car tod...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Pilot-hungry airlines are raiding flight schools - creating a shortage of instructors to train the next generation

Pilot-hungry airlines are raiding flight schools - creating a shortage of instructors to train the next generation

Airlines’ insatiable demand for pilots threatens to sabotage flight schools’ ability to train new ones. Carriers are raising wages and hoarding every available pilot - including the instructors schools rely on to teach incoming students.The very pilo...
Published: 05/23/18
Investigators insist MH370 crash was an accident, not a mass murder-suicide by pilot

Investigators insist MH370 crash was an accident, not a mass murder-suicide by pilot

A despondent Capt. Zaharie Ahmad Shah, troubled over the end of his marriage or some other unbearable sadness, was the only person awake on the doomed plane full of unconscious people, one theory goes. The suicidal pilot disabled communications on Ma...
Published: 05/22/18
Florida has a gem of an idea to move traffic on and off I-75. It's called diverging diamonds

Florida has a gem of an idea to move traffic on and off I-75. It's called diverging diamonds

TAMPA — Driving on the wrong side of the road isn’t just for the British any more under an innovative plan for moving traffic through three local Interstate 75 interchanges. Construction will soon begin on a $37 million, three-year proje...
Published: 05/21/18
More parking for the Straz Center? So far, the proposal is getting little traction

More parking for the Straz Center? So far, the proposal is getting little traction

TAMPA — Parking has been a problem at the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts since downtown began to emerge from the recession nearly a decade ago.The crunch looks likely to continue.A Straz plan to expand parking at its arrival plaza ...
Published: 05/18/18
More St. Petersburg residents using bike-share program on a regular basis

More St. Petersburg residents using bike-share program on a regular basis

ST. PETERSBURG — Cycling downtown on a blue basket bicycle has proven to be a popular pastime, according to the first yearly report provided by the Coast Bike Share. In an update presented to the St. Petersburg City Council, Coast announced that 45,6...
Published: 05/16/18
Co-pilot sucked halfway out of plane after windshield cracks over China

Co-pilot sucked halfway out of plane after windshield cracks over China

Getting sucked halfway out of a plane window is the stuff of movies and nightmares and it happens extremely rarely.But in mid-April, a female passenger died after being partially sucked out of a Southwest Airlines flight when one of the aircraft’s en...
Published: 05/16/18
MH370 experts think they’ve finally solved the mystery of the doomed Malaysia Airlines flight

MH370 experts think they’ve finally solved the mystery of the doomed Malaysia Airlines flight

All but one of the 239 people on the doomed Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 had probably been unconscious — incapacitated by the sudden depressurization of the Boeing 777 — and had no way of knowing that they were on an hours-long, meandering path to th...
Published: 05/15/18
Pasco buries tunnel proposal at U.S. 41 and SR 54

Pasco buries tunnel proposal at U.S. 41 and SR 54

DADE CITY — Transportation planners are burying the idea of tunneling under U.S. 41 to ease traffic congestion at the road’s intersection with State Road 54 in central Pasco.Even with the conceptual cost dropping $300 million, Pasco’s elected county...
Published: 05/11/18
Updated: 05/13/18
Florida Supreme Court: Cameras a legal way to catch red light runners

Florida Supreme Court: Cameras a legal way to catch red light runners

TALLAHASSEE — Traffic cameras are a legal way to catch red light runners, the Florida Supreme Court ruled Thursday in a verdict that likely marks the end of a class-action lawsuit seeking refunds for ticketed motorists.In a unanimous verdict, Supreme...
Updated one month ago