DELRAY BEACH — Every fatal car crash hits close to home for state Rep. Irv Slosberg, who has dedicated his much of his life to advocating for traffic safety following the death of his teenage daughter, Dori, in a 1996 crash.
When he donated $500 to the family of J.Gerald Smith, killed in a wreck Wednesday afternoon at a troublesome intersection in downtown Delray Beach, he wasn’t just mourning the loss of a local, he was drumming up solutions.
“What I’d really like to take on the education process for bars and restaurants to learn how to deal with people who are drunk because it’s happening everywhere,” said Slosberg, D-Boca Raton.
Smith, an 82-year-old Uber driver, was killed when a speeding Lamborghini struck his Buick at the intersection of Northeast 1st Street and Federal Highway, just one block north of Altantic Avenue, according to city police. The driver of the Lamborghini, health mogul Roger Wittenberns, told police he and his girlfriend had been drinking downtown before the crash.
“I feel bad, you know, Mr. Smith was doing nothing,” Slosberg said.
The intersection, which city officials say has some visibility issues for drivers trying to cross Federal Highway, is under state investigation to determine whether a traffic light is necessary.
Slosberg wants voluntary Breathalyzers in bars and restaurants, information on the penalties of drinking and driving readily available and contact sheets for taxi services and ride-sharing options, he said. The idea is to hold restaurants and bars more responsible for the drunk driving wrecks.
“It’s very difficult to sue these restaurants and bars, because one will blame it on another and another and so on,” Slosberg said. “I feel the most effective thing to do would be to educate bartenders and valets on what to do in these scenarios.”
Slosberg, who has served in the Florida House on and off since 2000, was defeated in the Aug. 30 primary for state Senate District 31, and said he’s probably done with politics. He’s taking over as chairman of the nonprofit Dori Slosberg Foundation, which plans to tackle the issue of educating pubs and taverns on drunk driving, he said.
Said Slosberg: “It’s a huge issue in the state and all over the country.”