Sophia’s Law passes Florida House subcommittee vote, moving closer to becoming law

Legislation would add safety measures to mid-block pedestrian crossings

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Legislation proposed after a 12-year-old Satellite Beach girl was killed as she used a crosswalk passed another vote Tuesday in Tallahassee, taking one step closer to becoming law.

Sophia Nelson was crossing at State Road A1A and Ellwood Avenue on Dec. 22, 2019 when she was struck by a vehicle, according to a Satellite Beach police report.

Rep. Randy Fine, R-Palm Bay, and Sen. Keith Perry, R-Gainesville, filed House Bill 1371, known as the Sophia Nelson Pedestrian Safety Act.

[RELATED: 12-year-old girl struck, killed on A1A crosswalk in Satellite Beach | Parents of Satellite Beach child killed in crosswalk push for change]

On Tuesday, the House Tourism, Infrastructure and Energy Subcommittee voted 15 to 2 in favor of the bill. It will need to go through two more subcommittees before it’s sent to the House floor for a vote.

The bill would make changes to mid-block pedestrian walkways like the one where Nelson was hit. The legislation would require installing flashing red lights instead of yellow light on roads where the speed is above 35 mph and would reduce the speed limit to 35 mph in areas still using flashing yellow beacons.

In February, Nelson’s parents appeared before the Florida House State Affairs Committee to urge legislators to support the legislation. The committee unanimously passed the bill on Feb. 18.

A companion Senate bill was also introduced, SB 1000 still has to go through one more committee before going to the Senate floor for a vote.