Less than a year after a University of Central Florida student drowned after her car crashed into a pond, a law is being passed in her name that would require roadside guardrails in front of bodies of water.
Chloe’s Law has passed both the House and the Senate and will go into effect this summer.
It’s a bittersweet celebration for the family of Chloe Arenas as they fulfill their mission to honor her.
“I’ll never forget the day I got that call," said Chloe’s sister Lauren Walker.
“As happy as we are to see the bill passed, it is a reminder that she really isn’t here anymore,” said Chloe’s sister Lauren Walker.
On June 28, 2015, 21-year-old Arenas was on her way to pick up her mother and grandmother to take them to an early morning flight.
“She never showed up to pick them up for the airport," Walker said.
Chloe crashed into a retention pond near UCF. Her car was submerged. Chloe drowned.
“It’s one of the worst ways you could imagine someone having to go," said Walker.
Consumed with grief and sadness, Chloe’s family and friends wondered if her life could have been spared if she hadn’t crashed into the water.
“I like to think that you know if there was a guardrail that it would’ve been more of a physical recovery," Walker said.
It’s a thought that hundreds of other Florida families share.
Data shows that Florida leads the nation in the number of drowning-related traffic accidents.
So Chloe’s loved ones made a petition that drew the attention of state politicians and a bill calling for guardrails around bodies of water was drafted.
In just nine months since Chloe’s death, Chloe’s Law passed into legislation.
“It was faster than we expected too," Walker said.
Now any site of a drowning-related traffic accident over the past ten years will be outfitted with a guardrail.
“As happy as we are to see the bill passed, it is a reminder that she really isn’t here anymore," Walker said.
Chloe’s Law was passed as part of a larger transportation bill. The bill still has to be signed into law by the Governor and will go into effect July 1, just a couple days after the anniversary of Chloe’s death.
- (July 19, 2015): New legislation proposed after UCF student's death
- (Oct. 26, 2015): Florida lawmakers file 'Chloe's Law' for retention pond guardrails
- (Oct. 6, 2015): 'Chloe's Law' seeks guardrails near Florida retention ponds