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After Recent Crash Involving Boca Teens, State Rep. Wants Statewide Traffic Safety Education In Schools

 County road worker crosses the street
Office of Commissioner Robert Weinroth
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County road workers installing speed tubes and counters on Camino Real

A two-car crash involving teenagers and two adults, at the intersection of Camino Real and Sanibel Drive in Boca Raton, left five people dead and five others injured. In 1996, state Rep. Emily Slosberg was involved in an eerily similar crash when she was a teen. She lost her twin sister in that crash.

“I was involved 25 years ago in a very similar circumstance, as the driver of the car that I was in was speeding. There were seven of us in the back seat of a smaller car. And the driver of the car that I was in was around the same age, 18 years old,” Slosberg said. “And we were all 12 and 13 years old in the backseat. And there were five fatalities in my crash. There were five fatalities in this crash. I mean, the similarities were very eerie.”

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News of the car crash early Sunday “hit really close to home” for the Slosberg, who said the accident site is just a few miles from her crash site 25 years ago.

Slosberg represents the area in west Boca Raton where the crash happened and she foresees bipartisan change coming to address the issue.

“Considering that we’re number one in the country for pedestrian deaths, and what had just recently occurred regarding this horrible traffic crash, there’s a good shot that the Legislature will take this into consideration and fund traffic safety awareness campaigns and initiatives and driver education throughout the state,” Slosberg said.

Slosberg sponsored the texting-while-driving bill that was signed into law in 2019. She says traffic awareness campaigns should appeal to the youth in engaging ways.

“It needs to also resonate with the children, the kids, so that they understand, they’re aware of what can happen if you don’t wear your seatbelt, if you’re speeding, if you’re overcrowding cars, “ Slosberg said. “Letting them know that something like this can happen.”

“It's what we do after a tragedy that determines whether it remains just a tragedy.”

During the next legislative session, Slosberg says she’s going to seek support for funding safety education awareness campaigns in schools.

In a statement, Palm Beach County Vice Mayor Robert Weinroth responded to the “ongoing excessive speeding in the area.”

Weinroth reached out to the county’s department of engineering and public works to develop a speed study, “which will generate a vehicle volume and speed summary to be utilized by the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office for targeted enforcement.”

The county placed “speed tubes and counters” near the crash site and expects the results from the speed study sometime next week.

Wilkine Brutus is a reporter and producer for WLRN and a guest faculty member at the Poynter Institute. The South Florida native produces stories on topics surrounding local news, culture, art, politics and current affairs.