On Friday afternoon, Florida Senate and House of Representative members voted on Chloe’s Law, passing the bill nine months after a University of Central Florida student fell victim to a vehicular drowning three miles from the UCF main campus.
Expedited by bipartisan support, a consensus swiftly made its way after the bill’s official filing in October.
The House approved the final draft, adding an amendment, and sent the bill to the Senate to be reviewed and decided within the hour. The near-final step in the congressional process sailed 117-2 in the House and 39-1 in the Senate around 4 p.m. ET on Friday.
Now what’s left is for the piece of legislature to be signed by Florida Governor Rick Scott before it becomes adopted by the state on July 1, 2016.
The most recent draft of Chloe’s Law requested that a review of deaths (due to vehicular drowning) that occurred in Florida over a ten year period beginning in 2006 be conducted, with safety measures to be placed following the historical review.
According to data gathered by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, The Orlando Sentinel and WKMG, Florida has remained the state with the highest fatalities in the United States due to drownings inside vehicles. News stations throughout the state, such as the Tampa Bay Times, Univision, Fox 35, the Miami New Times, and more, picked up on the story to follow its progression.
Knight News has worked with Chloe’s close friends and family from the day of event, breaking news of the legislative declaration, through its entirety. House Representative Rene Placensia and Senator Darren Soto have led the process, working with Knight News along the way. Both congressmen have been reached for public comment.
A copy of the bill and timeline of progression will be published upon release.
Original story – published 07/05/15
Faced with the death of a loved one, when UCF student Chloe Arenas tragically lost her life in a retention-pond crash, family and friends of the 21-year-old have begun the journey of proposing legislation that would prevent loss of life in identical, future accidents.
Sunday, June 28 saw the biomedical-sciences student leave her friend’s house at 4 a.m. to pick up her mother and grandmother for a trip to Nicaragua.
An hour later, she would abruptly lose control of her Hyundai when approaching the 408 exit ramp onto N. Alafaya Trail, leading the car to plunge into a retention-pond across the interchange. Tow trucks arrived at the scene to assist emergency vehicles in the retrieval but were unable to recover the car in time.
Taking charge of the proposal is Clarissa Lindsey, Arenas’ best friend since they were two years old.
The Arenas family held a memorial service for their loved one on Friday, July 3 where family and close friends honored Chloe’s life. At the service, Lindsey and the Arenas family made public their journey to proposing a law in tribute to their Knight – Chloe’s Law.
“Chloe’s law aims to require the implementation of guard rails along dangerous bodies of water that accompany road ways in Florida,” Lindsey said. “This is an ongoing issue in Florida, being that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration states that Florida is the most dangerous place in the nation regarding victims who drown in submerged vehicles.”
In 2011, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reviewed crash data and death records from 2004 to 2007 and concluded that Florida averaged 57 deaths by drownings in those years, with 384 deaths occurring nationwide.
The Orlando Sentinel continued a review of the federal crash data, surveying records from 2008 to 2012, finding that Florida again topped the nation with 49 drownings inside vehicles during the five-year period. Texas came in a distant second with 18 deaths followed by Indiana with 14 deaths, and Louisiana and Arizona with 10 deaths in each state, the Orlando Sentinel reported.
Arenas began classes at UCF in the summer of 2012 and enrolled in courses at Valencia College on a path of becoming a veterinarian.
Driven by a passion for zoo and domestic animals, she could be seen caring for many, including her bearded dragon, dog and a cat that she found alongside a road, with dreams of one day treating elephants in Africa.
“Though I am confident that this law will save many lives, it will be a success if we are able to save only one,” Lindsey said.
“The next step in the process is to finish the research and completion of the first draft of the policy proposal. I plan to seek out House representatives and senators in support of this beneficial and necessary bill.”
A Change.org petition has been made in support of the proposed bill.