Family and friends of a University of Central Florida student who was killed when her car went into a retention pond are proposing legislation they hope will save lives. The legislation would require guardrails on every single road side retention pond in the state of Florida.
Chloe Arenas was headed to the airport around 4 a.m. on June 28th to pick up her mother and grandmother. An hour later, the 21-year-old lost control of her car on the 408 exit ramp onto N. Alafaya trail. Rescuers were not able to get to her in time and she died. Chloe’s best friend, Clarissa Lindsey, is in charge of the proposed legislation. A change.org petition has been made in support of the bill. Over 5,000 people have signed it.
“It was my best friend who lost her life. She did become a statistic and when we are looking at statistics it is amazing to see how many lives we have lost on the Florida highways in retention ponds," said Clarissa Lindsey.
In 2011, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reviewed crash data and death records from 2004 to 2007. The review found an average of 57 drowning deaths in those years in Florida.
"We are hoping to sit down with a specific legislator and begin drafting the legislation because the session is coming up and we would like to have that ready,” said Lindsey.
Clarissa does face critics though. Some worry the proposal could cost taxpayers, but Clarissa said the money would come from federal grants, toll money and sponsors.
The other issue is guardrail safety. One of the biggest guardrail manufacturers has faced a number of lawsuits, over its guardrail end terminals called ET-Plus. In one North Carolina incident, the guardrail sliced through a vehicle. However, Clarissa still believes guardrails give drivers a better chance of survival.
A Florida Department of Transportation spokesman said he wants FDOT engineers to examine any proposals to determine if Clarissa’s plan is feasible.
To learn more about the petition click here, https://www.change.org/p/protect-drivers-from-drowning.