Miami-Dade Legislative Item
File Number: 090131
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File Number: 090131 File Type: Resolution Status: Adopted
Version: 0 Reference: R-132-09 Control: Board of County Commissioners
File Name: CELL PHONE USAGE Introduced: 1/23/2009
Requester: NONE Cost: Final Action: 2/17/2009
Agenda Date: 2/17/2009 Agenda Item Number: 11A17
Notes: Title: RESOLUTION URGING THE FLORIDA LEGISLATURE TO PROHIBIT TALKING, TEXT MESSAGING OR OTHERWISE USING WIRELESS COMMUNICATION DEVICES, INCLUDING CELLULAR TELEPHONES AND PERSONAL DIGITAL ASSISTANTS, WHILE DRIVING UNLESS OPERATED WITH A HEADSET OR HANDS-FREE DEVICE
Indexes: URGING
Sponsors: Rebeca Sosa, Prime Sponsor
Sunset Provision: No Effective Date: Expiration Date:
Registered Lobbyist: None Listed


Legislative History

Acting Body Date Agenda Item Action Sent To Due Date Returned Pass/Fail

Board of County Commissioners 2/17/2009 11A17 Adopted P

County Manager 2/13/2009 Additions 2/17/2009

Health, Public Safety & Intergovernmental Cmte 2/12/2009 2H Forwarded to the BCC by the BCC Chairperson with a favorable recommendation P
REPORT: Assistant County Attorney Valda Clark Christian read the foregoing proposed resolution into the record. The Committee proceeded to vote on this proposed resolution as presented. Commissioner Sosa explained the intent of this proposed resolution. In response to Commissioner Diaz’ question regarding the Commission previously considering a prohibition of using wireless communication devices including cellular telephones and personal digital assistants, Assistant County Attorney Christian noted this subject matter was presented before the Florida Legislature, and it did not pass by that body at its initial hearing. Commissioner Barreiro stated the County Commission adopted a resolution (R-306-98) urging the Florida Legislature to enact legislation to provide that the use of a cellular phone while operating a motor vehicle may be considered as evidence of negligence. He pointed out the County legislation was preempted by the State of Florida, and since that time the County has continuously urged the Florida Legislature to put forth or enact similar legislation. Commissioner Souto recommended that the County begin a program with its employees to encourage them not to use wireless communication devices, including cellular telephones and personal digital assistants, while driving. Chairwoman Heyman proceeded to provide an overview of the prior consideration by the Florida Legislature on this subject matter that included eating, grooming, and reading. She noted that last year the Commission supported legislation for not using wireless communication devices, including cellular telephones and personal digital assistants, while driving in a school zone. Commissioner Sosa reminded the Committee members that former Commissioner Barbara M. Carey-Shuler sponsored a resolution to ban the use of cellular telephones while driving, and then the City of Pinecrest enacted the same legislation for its city not allowing residents to drive within its city limits while using cellular telephones. Commissioner Sosa stated the State was concerned that if local municipalities enacted this type of legislation in one area and not the other, then drivers would become confused. Therefore, in order for this law to be applied uniformly throughout the State of Florida (State) this legislation should come from the State. Hearing no further questions or comments, the Committee forwarded this proposed resolution as presented. Chairwoman Heyman requested staff to prepare the appropriate memorandum to the Board of County Commissioners (BCC) Chairman Dennis C. Moss requesting that the Board's Rules and Procedures be waived to hear this proposed resolution at the February 17, 2009, Board meeting.

County Attorney 1/27/2009 Referred Health, Public Safety & Intergovernmental Cmte 2/12/2009

County Attorney 1/23/2009 Assigned Jess M. McCarty 1/28/2009

Legislative Text


TITLE
RESOLUTION URGING THE FLORIDA LEGISLATURE TO PROHIBIT TALKING, TEXT MESSAGING OR OTHERWISE USING WIRELESS COMMUNICATION DEVICES, INCLUDING CELLULAR TELEPHONES AND PERSONAL DIGITAL ASSISTANTS, WHILE DRIVING UNLESS OPERATED WITH A HEADSET OR HANDS-FREE DEVICE

BODY

WHEREAS, in 2001, Miami-Dade County became the first county in the State of Florida to pass an ordinance restricting the use of cellular telephones while driving; and
WHEREAS, the following year, the Florida Legislature preempted the Miami-Dade ordinance, along with all local government regulation of cellular telephones and other wireless communication devices while driving; and
WHEREAS, as of May, 2007, over 236 million people in the U.S. had wireless communication devices, such as cellular telephones and Blackberries, Treos and other personal digital assistants (PDAs), compared with less than 5 million in 1990, according to the Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Association; and
WHEREAS, increased use of cellular telephones and PDAs has led to a substantial rise in the number of people who use these devices while driving; and
WHEREAS, dangers associated with using cellular telephones and PDAs while driving are two fold:
1. Drivers may become so absorbed in their cellular telephone conversations that their ability to concentrate on driving is impaired; and
2. Drivers may take their eyes off the road while dialing, text messaging and typing, sending or reading emails; and
WHEREAS, these dangers have the potential to jeopardize the safety of vehicle occupants, other drivers, and pedestrians; and
WHEREAS, bills have been filed for consideration during the 2009 state legislative session that would prohibit all persons from talking, text messaging or otherwise using wireless communication devices while driving except when using a headset or hands-free device, including SB 172 by Senator Frederica Wilson and HB 345 by Representative Yolly Roberson, both of the Miami-Dade State Legislative Delegation, and HB 377 by Representative Doug Holder (R Sarasota); and
WHEREAS, bills also have been filed for consideration during the 2009 state legislative session that would prohibit persons under the age of 18 from using telecommunications devices while driving, SB 212 by Senator Carey Baker (R Eustis) and HB 261 by Representative John Legg (R Port Richey); and
WHEREAS, a bill also has been filed that would prohibit school bus drivers from using telecommunications devices while driving school buses, including HB 473 by Representative Alan Williams (D Tallahassee),
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS OF MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA, that this Board:
Section 1. Urges the Florida Legislature to prohibit all persons from talking, text messaging or otherwise using wireless communication devices, including cellular telephones and personal digital assistants, while driving except when using a headset or hands-free device, or alternatively, prohibit drivers under the age of 18 and/or school bus drivers from using telecommunications devices while driving.
Section 2. Urges the Florida Legislature to pass SB 172, SB 212, HB 261, HB 345, HB 377, HB 473 or similar legislation.
Section 3. Directs the Clerk of the Board to transmit a certified copy of this resolution to the Governor, Senate President, House Speaker, the Chair and Members of the Miami-Dade County State Legislative Delegation, Senator Carey Baker, Representative Doug Holder, Representative John Legg, and Representative Alan Williams.
Section 4. Directs the County's state lobbyists to advocate for the passage of the legislation set forth in Sections 1 and 2 above, and directs the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs to include this item in the 2009 State Legislative Package.



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