There is a car commercial that advertises a very small light on the dashboard that blinks the word “brake” if a sensor in the vehicle thinks you may hit something. This may be great in theory, but the rationale behind this concept doesn’t make sense. If you have your eyes on the road and not on the dash, you will probably know before your vehicle “senses” it that you need to brake. Florida speeding laws can be very similar. The laws that govern speeding assume that you are watching your speedometer like a hawk, and if you aren’t then you should be. Unless you engage your cruise control, if you have it, you can’t keep your eyes on the road and on the speedometer at the same time.
This makes speeding one of the easiest laws on the books to break. So often we are not even aware that we are speeding until something happens to remind us; the driver in front of us slams on his brakes, an animal darts out in front of us, or the dreaded blue lights of a police cruiser light up the interior of our car. It’s also easy to do if you are driving for a while and are just ready to get to your destination, or driving a route that you drive frequently so you aren’t really focused on your driving. How often have you been driving home from work and realize that you are almost home before you know it? At these times, you may not be speeding by much, but if you live in Broward County, surely you already know how much city, county, and state law enforcement agencies like writing speeding tickets.
COPS HAVE QUOTAS
We all know that cops have quotas regardless of the denial on the part of these agencies, and one of the quickest ways to meet speeding ticket quotas is to target areas where police officers know people are likely to be speeding. One such target area is school zones. Granted, there are really good reasons to have significantly reduced speed limits in school zones. The obvious one is that children are present and no one wants to injure a child. The fact that there is a concentration of slow, lumbering school buses in the area is another issue, as is the volume of traffic created by parents picking up or dropping off their children. Even though these school zone speed limits may be well-intentioned, the fine for getting a speeding ticket in a school zone in Broward County is outrageous – double the amount you would pay for the same infraction elsewhere.
Between the ticket quotas and the allure of the cha-ching that these double fines bring to municipalities, it is just too much for cops to resist. Even if you are slowing down because you realize you are entering a school speed zone, it’s too late. The cops are clocking your speed even as you approach the zone. If you are even slightly over the speed limit when you enter the speed zone, you’re busted. Like looking at the speedometer constantly to monitor your speed, cops expect you to brake excessively to attain the required speed limit in a school zone regardless of the other risks that doing so may pose. So of course, when most of us realize that we are approaching a school zone, we try to progressively slow down. Although it is apparent to anyone watching, including the police officer, that you are trying to abide by the reduced speed limit safely, it doesn’t stop him from pulling you over. That’s when you get your hefty Broward County speeding ticket at double the usual fine.
YOU NEED TO BE EXTRA CAREFUL
Let me reiterate that I fully support the fact that we should have reduced speed limits in school zones, and I don’t necessarily object to doubling the fine for those who choose not to slow down when in a school zone. What I do object to is the failure of cops to use reason and good judgment when pulling someone over and writing them a speeding ticket in a school zone. Some of Broward County’s schools are situated on very busy streets which preclude drivers from slamming on their brakes without the possibility of causing an accident. Drivers should be able to reduce their speed by degrees as they approach a school zone. If they haven’t quite slowed down to the exact speed limit by the time they enter the speed zone, police officers should be a little more conservative when choosing who deserves a speeding ticket and who doesn’t.
Be aware that most South Florida school zones have a posted speed limit of 20 mph, and generally, there are signs posted to let you know when you are approaching a school zone and when you are exiting one. You may want to start slowing down immediately upon seeing one of these signs to avoid getting a speeding ticket. You should also take into account the number of school buses in the immediate vicinity of schools because you must stop if a school bus stops. If you don’t, not only can you count on another expensive traffic ticket, but you will have 4 points assessed against your driver’s license.
No matter how many times I may write about police officers using discretion when issuing traffic tickets, I seriously doubt that it will have an impact on their actions. There is little chance that they will refrain from laying in wait for the average driver to enter a school zone going three miles an hour over the speed limit so they can rush out and issue a speeding ticket. Sure, it’s good for my business, but that doesn’t mean it’s fair, and that is one of the reasons I chose to become a traffic ticket attorney. Often, the tactics that cops use so that they can keep up a steady stream of revenue for the politicians who employ them are sneaky and underhanded. That’s why it’s important to hire a traffic ticket attorney with a good grasp of Florida traffic laws if you get a school zone speeding ticket or a traffic ticket for any kind of violation. Give the Traffic Ticket Team a call at 954-967-9888 for a free consultation.