Names of Victims of Traffic Violence in Tampa Becoming Harder to Access
TAMPA, FL- Tampabay.com writes that the Florida Highway Patrol will no longer be releasing the names of people killed in crashes. Those seeking information about these victims will be faced with fees and have to wait for the police to respond to their requests.*
Hundreds of people are losing their lives each year on Tampa's roadways. Just this week, a motorist reportedly ran through a red light in the city and collided with a tractor-trailer. The name of the 43-year-old man killed in the incident will not be released by the police. The same goes for a 61-year-old man who was attempting to cross US 19 this week and was struck and killed by a van.
In each of those recent tragic accidents, the Florida Highway Patrol released statements informing the media and public about the fatal events. Unlike earlier reports, the names of those involved were not included. The move is part of what is called Marcy's Law. Under the law, which amended the state's constitution, the names of victims of crimes must be kept private.
While the law is directed towards criminal victims, the Florida Highway Patrol will no longer release the names of traffic victims even if no criminal involvement is suspected. The two recent deadly collisions in Tampa did not result in any criminal charges. The public may have access to the names, but only by paying for a report which will become available at a later time. Some fear that the law is overreaching and that it is preventing the public's ability to understand the risks, and who is dying, on the state's roads.
The Tampa Police Department and the Hillsborough County Sheriff's office will release the names to the public in cases where the family states that they want to opt-out of the law's protection. However, in Pinellas County and in St. Petersburg, the police departments will release the names unless family or victims ask to have them withheld pursuant to the law.
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