Speed Detection System in School Zones Project moves forward

Doral Council selects Verra Mobility as the first option to implement it

By: Diana Bello Aristizábal

Para leer en Español

On April 10, Doral council voted in favor of starting negotiations with Verra Mobility, aiming to make it the vendor that operates a speed detection system in school zones proposed last year by Councilwoman Maureen Porras. In the event the city cannot reach an agreement with the company, RedSpeed ??USA was selected as the second choice.

Verra Mobility, like the rest of the vendors that entered into a competitive bidding for City of Doral, such as Altumint and Saferspeeds, sent an application that in a first evaluation previously done by a committee, which included the Deputy Chief of Police and the interim City Manager, obtained the highest rating.

Then, at the April council meeting, each of the vendors were provided a space to present their strengths, overall experience and with speed detection cameras in school zones, and the support behind their brands to councilors and the public. The presentation of that day plus the evaluation of the documentation previously sent, led to Verra being proposed as the first option to implement the system later backed up by majority in the council.

“This company managed the red-light cameras we previously had, so they know how we operate, and also the city’s police department. RedSpeed, on the other hand, was the company chosen by Miami-Dade County to install this same system next school year. I think they are both very good choices,” Maureen Porras says.

Now, this project, approved unanimously in May 2023, is closer to becoming a reality and it’s expected to be fully operating at the beginning of the next school year or a few months after, although there isn’t a confirmed date yet, because, in addition to awarding a contract to a company that operates it, it also remains to be determined in which schools the system would be active.

It would be operating at schools that are within a school zone (not all of them are) and in which many speeding violations have been committed. “This decision is based on a traffic study we conducted to determine how many cars were traveling at a speed of 25 miles per hour or more during school hours; feedback from the police and from schools themselves,” the Councilwoman explains.

According to her, Doral council would decide on this regard in May, although it’s uncertain if a contract with Verra will be established during this month, a task in charge of interim City Manager Kathie Brooks and interim Attorney Joseph Geller. At the time of going to press, it wasn’t clear whether or not the negotiations with the company were successful or which schools would take on the system.

The list of academic institutions that would place speed detection devices in their school zones during students’ drop off and pick up times exclusively will be set out in an ordinance to be approved in a first and second reading in the following months.

Subsequently, and after closing a contract with the operating company, an outreach campaign will be deployed so that the community knows the system, and a grace period of between 30 and 60 days will be granted, during which time those who violate the speed limit in school zones would receive a warning instead of a fine, says the councilwoman. Additionally, signs will be placed in school zones to let drivers know they are being monitored by a camera.


What can residents expect?

The system in question was first known in the city last year in response to state bill SB588 signed by Governor Ron DeSantis. This law authorizes counties and municipalities to enforce the speed limit in school zones at specified periods of time through the use of a speed detection system. It is the first law of its kind to be approved in Florida.

The resolution adopted by Doral last year in support of the law will be of great value to the community because greater control will be exercised over school zones, thus preventing accidents, that put the lives of children and adults at risk, from happening.

Such control is currently quite limited considering that each school has a school resource officer who, although their main mission is to ensure safety and enforce speed limits, is physically impossible for them to notice every infraction committed, let alone, fine them all.

The system will work as follows: every time a person is driving 10 miles over the speed limit in a school zone (15), that is, 25 miles per hour, during student drop off and pick up times, the cameras will take a photo of the vehicle’s license plate and a video of the offender. This information will reach the Doral Police Department, which will determine whether or not there was in fact a violation. If the answer is yes, the offender would have to pay $100.

In the long term, the goal is to see an understanding from the community about the importance of complying with the speed limit in school zones, hoping the number of resident complaints, and incidents will be reduced. Historically, in Doral not many accidents for speeding in school zones have occurred, but situations frequently arise in which almost someone gets hurt for a few seconds because of reckless driving.


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