Bill would let parents know when their kids get traffic tickets

Jan 11, 2012

A bill making its way through the Florida legislature would let parents sign up to get notices from the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles when their kids get a traffic ticket. Regan McCarthy reports law makers even considered extending the proposal to tell employers when their workers are caught driving with a lead foot or rolling through a red light.

Senator Greg Evers says right now anybody can access anyone else’s driving record as long as they have certain information about that person like their date of birth.

Under current law, anyone who wants information about a person’s driving record has to request it from the highway safety department, but under Senator Evers’ bill getting that information would be more like signing up for a subscription.  Evers, a Republican from Pensacola, says for a 5-dollar fee state officials would send an alert when there’s a new citation on the record you’re tracking so you’ll know right away, rather than having to periodically check. Evers says his bill was initially intended to help parents keep tabs on their teens but he says department officials have said they’d like to offer the service for employers too.

 “They would like to have the ability for employers to be able to have the same fee for their employees.”

Department officials say it’s common for bosses to check up on their workers driving records especially when the jobs involve driving—like school bus drivers, for example. But the bill would impact everyone, not just those who drive for a living and some lawmakers like Republican Senator Lizbeth Beniquisto of Wellinton, say that goes too far.                                  

“If someone drives in the course of their job, I could certainly understand that. But for someone who does not and is not listed under the employers insurance policy. I think that goes a little too far for me that you list at the beginning of the year the employees you have on you slate. I’m wondering who is going to get notified if I get a ticket if my employer signs up for a service like that. The Senate President? Or maybe the constituents that I serve.”

And Senator Arthenia Joyner, a Democrat from Tampa says while the bill seems like a good tool for parents, she agrees sending records to employers  might cross the line.                                               

“Seems like to me that there’s just too much information to readily available to people. If they want it they ought to have to go through the process of asking for it the old fashioned way. I can understand about the teenager, but you know you are opening the box to everybody saying, well hey, let me find out about her record or his record. That’s the uneasiness that I sense that we are having with this. Even though its available they have to request it and so that’s just a horse of a different color.”

In fact, the amendment to extend the measure for use by employers and employees failed to get much support from any lawmakers at all with Committee Chair Senator Jack Latvala calling it the “big brother amendment.”

Is there any lawmaker in this room besides the committee chair who supports this amendment?

The bill Sponsor, Senator Evers agreed to withdraw his amendment without a vote. The committee has temporarily postponed the proposal. Latvala says the transportation committee will take a final vote on the original bill that limits the alerts to parents and their children next week.