Oviedo in the News

March 6, 2020

THE CHIEF’S CORNER

March is Distracted Driving Month

March is Distracted Driving Month. Florida will implement a "Put it Down, Focus on Driving" Program to raise awareness about distracted driving. Distracted driving is anything that takes your hands off the wheel, your eyes off the road, or your mind off of driving. Driving distracted is extremely risky behavior that puts everyone on the road in danger. This newsletter will focus on a 2019 change in Florida law (The Wireless Communications While Driving Law, section 316.305, Florida Statutes) that took effect on July 1, 2019. This law requires drivers to put their phones down and focus on driving. The law allows law enforcement to stop motor vehicles as a primary offense and issue citations to motorists that are texting and driving. Prior to July 2019, an officer would have had to have a different reason to make a traffic stop to be able to write a distracted driving citation (as a secondary violation). Those who wish to read the statute can find it at https://www.flsenate.gov/Laws/Statutes.  

According to the 2019 law change, a person may not operate a motor vehicle while manually typing or entering multiple letters, numbers, or symbols into a wireless communications device to text, email, and instant message. It also prohibits using wireless communications devices in a handheld manner in a school zone or active work zone. Active work zone, as it pertains to Section 316.306, Florida Statutes, means that construction personnel are present or are operating equipment on the road or immediately adjacent to the work zone area. A motor vehicle that is stationary is not being operated and is not subject to the prohibition in the law.

Exemptions to the law include:

  • Performing official duties as an operator of an authorized emergency vehicle (law enforcement, fire service, or emergency medical services professional).
  • Reporting an emergency or criminal or suspicious activity to law enforcement authorities.
  • Receiving messages that are: related to the operation or navigation of the motor vehicle; safety-related information, including emergency, traffic, or weather alerts; data used primarily by the motor vehicle; or radio broadcasts.
  • Using a device or system for navigation purposes.
  • Conducting wireless interpersonal communication that does not require manual entry of multiple letters, numbers, or symbols, except to activate, deactivate, or initiate a feature or function.
  • Conducting wireless communication that does not require reading text messages, except to activate, deactivate, or initiate a feature or function.
  • Operating an autonomous vehicle in autonomous mode.

Remember that to successfully avoid a crash, a driver must perceive a hazard, react, and give the vehicle time to stop. Driver perception distance, or the distance a vehicle travels from the time a driver sees a hazard until the brain recognizes it, and reaction distance, the distance a car will continue to travel after seeing a hazard until the driver physically hits the brakes, dramatically affects a vehicle’s stopping distance. Even a focused driver going 50 mph will travel nearly the length of a football field before coming to a complete stop. Driving distracted can result in additional stopping distance and the potential for that additional distance to cause property damage, personal injury, or death. Stay safe and drive smart. 

The source for much of this article is https://www.flhsmv.gov/safety-center/driving-safety/distracted-driving/.

Dale Coleman
Chief of Police

Census 101: What You Need to Know

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Recycling Simplified

Recycling Simplified

FLORIDA BEARS

Bear sightings are common in Seminole County, and all Oviedo residents should be prepared!

AVOID ATTRACTING BEARS!

  • Garbage, pet foods, barbecue grills, and anything that smells like food attracts bears.
  • Don't leave your garbage can outside.  Store trash and recyclables in bear-resistant containers or in a secure area until morning of pickup.
  • Feed pets inside or bring in bowls after your pets are finished eating.
  • Remove bird and wildlife feeders. Store pet or livestock feed indoors or in bear-resistant containers.
  • Protect your garden, compost pile, or livestock with electric fencing.
  • Clean meat smokers and grills with bleach or a degreasing agent.
  • If bears are rewarded with food (garbage, pet food, etc.) at your house, they will come back.

IF YOU SEE A BEAR

  • Remain calm, DO NOT run or play dead.  Back away slowly and speak in a calm, assertive voice.
  • Make sure that you are in a safe area and that the bear has an escape route, then make some noise to scare the bear away.
  • Secure the attractants that are bringing the bear to your neighborhood.

Report a Bear Sighting to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

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City of Oviedo

FUTURE city COUNCIL MEETING DATES

  • May 18, 2020 at 6:30 p.m. (City Council Meeting)

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