News 6, Matt Austin, honored with award to drive change in Florida's distracted driving laws

Award presented for in-depth coverage on the dangers of distracted driving

ORLANDO, Fla. – Members of the United Safety Council on Friday awarded News 6 anchor Matt Austin the United Safety Council News Media Safety Award for his special reports and in-depth coverage on the dangers of texting while driving. 

The event was held at the Rosen Plaza Hotel in Orlando. Since Austin's accident in Sept. 2016, News 6 launched the Driving Change campaign to highlight the current issues in Florida. This included talking to a crossing guard and to local sheriffs from counties across Central Florida.

"The fact that you have transformed this tragic incident into a platform to work for positive change in negative driving behaviors, as well as to work toward a tougher law to deter texting while driving, is certainly worthy of recognition and we applaud the awards selection committees' decision to present you and WKMG with the United Safety Council Media Award," executive director Christoper A. Earl said in a statement.

In December, News 6 hosted a town hall forum with the public and leaders in the state to discuss the problem and potential solutions. Also, the community weighed in on the urge for Florida lawmakers to increase the penalty for texting and driving and make it a primary offense

"Texting and driving is not something anyone approves of in the state. Lawmakers will tell you when you grill them, which I have several of them now, they say, 'I wanna see statistics that show texting and driving will be fixed in this state if we make this a law.' So we gave them statistics to back that up and they haven't called us back," Austin said at the event.

For more information on Driving Change, click here.