Thursday, December 2, 2004
That's Just Wrong: School Zone Speeders
If you head out on the road in the mornings or in the early afternoon, you've probably driven through one -- a school speed zone. Drivers are supposed to slow down to 15 miles per hour. But as Belkys Nerey shows us in neighborhoods across South Florida, parents are outraged, saying it's just wrong that their children are being put into danger by speeders.
WSVN -- Cheryl Lee-Chen drives her daughter to school every morning.
But in the afternoon, Ashley takes the public bus.
Believe it or not, the most dangerous part of her commute is crossing busy Northeast Second Avenue in Miami.
That's because Cheryl says drivers don't obey the posted 15 mile per hour school speed zone.
Cheryl Lee-Chen: "It's a school zone we have children out here getting off buses, getting out of cars and they don't obey speed limits, someone is going to get hurt sooner or later."
The school speed zones are set up to protect children who might dart out in front of a car at any second.
At 15 miles per hour, a child hit by a car could survive an accident, not to mention a driver has time to stop.
Cheryl Lee-Chen: "They don't stop to think that maybe it could be their child that could get hurt out here, they just do it."
Miami Police Officer Andre Mathis: "If you are doing 30 mph it's gonna be really hard to stop for that kid that runs in front of that vehicle."
Miami Police say the problem happens in practically every neighborhood.
On this day, we met up with officers from the city's traffic enforcement division, and what we caught on camera is just wrong.
Officer Andre Mathis: "Total disregard of the school zones, it's 15 mph and you saw we were stopping cars in upwards of 30 and almost 40 miles per hour in a school speed zone."
In fact, we watched as car after car got pulled over. Police handed out more than two dozen tickets in just an hour.
Officers say fines have been doubled, but that doesn't seem to deter fast drivers.
Woman from passenger seat of car pulled over: "We didn't see those signs until we got stopped."
Ticketed driver: "I am sorry, I am sorry, yes I am sorry."
To stop more speeders, parents say they want more warning lights in school speed zones. Also, some are asking for a crosswalk at busy intersections and more police presence. In the meantime, parents and police hope drivers will just slow down.
Officer Andre Mathis: "Most of these people travel these streets on a daily basis, they know that there is schools there and they are late for work and they are just going to speed."
Cheryl Lee-Chen: "Please slow down, our children's lives are at stake here."
City of Miami Police say they only have 15 officers to patrol the entire city limits. They say they need more officers to help put an end to the problem.
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