NewsPalm Beach CountyRegion C Palm Beach County


Beware speeders: FHP staying busy to keep you safe

Posted at 4:41 PM, Aug 14, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-14 18:38:33-04

The Florida Highway Patrol is staying busy this year.

On Friday, the agency announced a crackdown on aggressive cars around commercial truck drivers.

But there's another campaign FHP is pushing right now in South Florida called Arrive Alive.

"I hate driving. I hate driving in Florida, it's insane," said Jennifer Carratala, who drives the Florida Turnpike.

State police say 2016 was the deadliest for crashes in Florida since 2007, with over 3,000 people killed. To prevent that from happening again, FHP used crash data to figure out which areas they needed to focus on to crack down on bad drivers.

They established 19 hot spots that state troopers have spent the past several months patrolling.

"Generalized areas between I-95 and the turnpike in different areas of the Palm Beach County area that they designated as hot spots --  where there is a higher amount of injury crashes, fatal crashes," said Sgt. Mark Wysocky of FHP Troop L. 

Here's a list of the hot spots in Palm Beach and Broward counties that FHP is focusing on:

  • Palm Beach Palm Beach 1: South of Cumberland Dr., North Australian Ave., North Tamarand Ave., SR 704, US 98, FL Turnpike, Haverhill Rd.
  • Palm Beach Palm Beach 2: Southern Blvd., US 1, I-95, South of Hypoluxo Rd., Jog Rd., SR 802, East of SR 91
  • Palm Beach Palm Beach 3: North of Gateway Blvd. (1.2 miles), West of I-95, North of SR 806,West of South Military Trail, Jog Road So.
  • Palm Beach Palm Beach 4:  SR 806, US 1, CR 798, West of the Turnpike
  • Palm Beach Turnpike: SR 91 between 710 and 882
  • Broward 1: Wiles Rd - Coral Springs Dr to US 441, all areas south of Wiles to Royal Palms Blvd between Coral Ridge Dr and US 441
  • Broward 2:  I-95 - SR 816 to SR 736, east of 95 to SR 5, west of 95 to US 441
  • Broward 3:  I-95 - SR 818 to SR 858, east of 95 to SR 5, west of 95 to Davie Rd/N 72nd Ave
  • Broward Coconut Creek 1: US 441 just north of West Hillsboro Blvd to just south of Johnson Road
  • Broward Coconut Creek 2: US 441 just north of the Sawgrass Expressway to just south of Cullum Road
  • Broward Coconut Creek 3: West Sample Road from US 441 to just west of Lyons Road
  • Broward Coconut Creek 4: West Copans Road from Hammocks Blvd to just east of North 40th Avenue to include Lyons Road north and south of West Copans Road.
  • Broward Coconut Creek 5: West Atlantic and Lyons Road - to include Lyons just north and south of the intersection and West Atlantic just east and west of the intersection.
  • Broward Turnpike: SR 91 from 870 to 822

These areas, according to data, have problems with speed, distraction and people not wearing seat belts -- which have led to tragic crashes.

"What they've decided is by going to these hotspots -- whether doing traffic enforcement or just sitting somewhere doing paperwork inside these hotspots -- that it will deter people from making careless action while driving, get them to slow down," said Sgt. Wysocky. "People see law enforcement and more than likely you're going to hope they slow down."

Vero Beach resident Don Edwards often travels with an RV and deals with the same frustrations truck drivers do.

"Everybody flies so being the speed limit is 75, everybody goes 85. Just have to be very careful," he said. "If the police are out and are visible, it makes people realize that they've got to be the laws and slowdown. Anything that will slow people down, make them more courteous"

Ticket fines will remain the same in these hotspots. Speeding fines range from $129 to $279. You'll pay double if you commit a traffic violation in construction or school zones.

FHP is gathering all of the data from the hot spot areas for the Arrive Alive campaign and will know after the end of the year if numbers improved.

On Friday, FHP also launched a separate statewide crackdown on aggressive drivers around truckers.

"You have to remember tractor-trailers, they can't stop on a dime like a car," said Sgt. Wysocky. "It takes them, maybe the length of a football field to stop. Their speed limits are governed, so they may only be going about 64 or 65 miles an hour."

The agency is also partnering with the Florida Trucking Association to educate the public on proper and safer driving around large trucks.

"A good rule is if you know and can see the drivers face in the mirror, then he can see you at the same point," said Sgt. Wysocky. 

Troopers say most fatal crashes involving tractor trailers are caused by both the car and truck driver.

"It takes distance and time to do certain maneuvers and stopping turning and everything else," said William Fust, a long-time truck driver and motorcyclist. "Without any regards to anything, they miss their exit? Take the next one, but no they just want to cut in front of everybody."

FHP said they hope these campaigns will stop the decline in the tickets written in South Florida. Troop L -- which encompasses counties from Broward, north to Okeechobee and Indian River -- wrote nearly 10,000 fewer tickets in 2016 than the year before.