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Chloe’s Law, aimed at preventing drowning deaths in Florida car accidents, passes House panel

A Florida bill aimed at preventing drowning deaths in car accidents has passed its first House committee. The bill is named “Chloe’s law” after Chloe Arenas, a University of Central Florida student who died last year when her vehicle ran off the road and into a retention pond. The bill is aimed at installing guardrails on roadways near potentially dangerous bodies of water.

Clarissa Lindsey, who said Arenas was her best friend since the age of two, is now advocating for Chloe’s Law. Lindsey said that Florida leads the nation in fatalities from drowning in submerged vehicles.

Sen. Darren Soto (D-Kissimmee) said that too many people were dying from drownings in retention ponds and other bodies of water located near high-speed roadways, and he was working with engineers to decide which bodies of water need guardrails. Rep. Rene Plasencia (R-Orlando) signed on as the House cosponsor of the bill.

Supporters said that the bill would require the Florida Department of Transportation to examine any location where there has been a drowning death in a car accident in the past 10 years and make a determination as to whether a barrier needs to be constructed. The DOT would also be required to survey the causes of deaths and report back to the state legislature.

Lindsey said that she understood that cost is a factor, but a guardrail at the site of Arenas’ death would cost between $1,200 and $2,000, and that the cost was incomparable to a human life.

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