By: Doral City Councilwoman Maureen Porras
Every day, students across Miami-Dade make their way to school, and they rely on us as responsible citizens and community leaders to ensure their journeys are as safe as possible. With drivers last year striking and killing the highest number of pedestrians since 1981, we must recognize that deadly unsafe driving is on the rise – and we must do something about it. That is why I am leading an initiative in favor of implementing automated speed devices in school zones in Doral.
Speeding in school zones is a matter of great concern. We all know the signs, the flashing lights, and the lowered speed limits, but yet thousands of Miami-Dade drivers receive tickets for disregarding these warnings each year, putting our children at risk. And if unsafe drivers are behaving this badly in the presence of law enforcement, imagine their disregard for unmonitored school zones. Fast and reckless driving is an unacceptable, preventable risk to the safety of our school children, and it is our responsibility to address it head-on.
The Florida Legislature has paved the way for our local communities to introduce automated speed devices in school zones by passing SB588, Speed Detection Systems in School Zones, which is a critical step in the right direction. In May, I proposed a resolution supporting SB588, which was unanimously adopted by our Doral City Council. The safety of school-age children is a top priority for me. Thousands of the City’s students cross roadways on their way to and from school every day, and the danger from speeding cars or distracted drivers is growing every year. This new law allows us to enhance protection for the City’s children and pedestrians, by permitting the City to install speed detection systems in school zones.
The goal of this initiative is not penalizing drivers, but protecting our children. These devices will automatically generate $100 tickets for drivers caught exceeding the speed limit by at least 10 miles per hour during school days. Importantly, citations will serve as a deterrence and reminder to slow down and drive responsibly. With plenty of signage and state-required public awareness campaigns, residents will know where devices are located and how to drive safely to avoid a ticket.
We are a community that cares and a community that looks out for one another. During our September Council Meeting, I presented a discussion item directing our administration to speak with service providers, like RedSpeed who was recently selected to implement school zone safety programs in two cities with Miami-Dade County – Pinecrest and Miami Gardens- and bring back information on Doral implementing this important safety program.
We’ve seen how implementing speed devices in school zones sends a clear message: we are committed to creating a safer future for our children, one where they can travel to and from school without fear. As an aunt of six nephews in Miami-Dade County schools, I’m proud to support speed devices to keep the children in my family, and all our kids, safe. Let us stand together and prioritize the protection of our youngest citizens. Our children deserve nothing less.