Cost of speeding tickets to rise Tuesday on I-95 in Boynton Beach, other zones
By Chrystian Tejedor
South Florida Sun-Sentinel
Posted April 30 2007
Bright school bus-yellow signs have given drivers on Interstate 95 this month a not-so-subtle warning that they've driven into an Enhanced Penalty Zone.
But the month-long warning period is about to end. Motorists caught speeding Tuesday within the zones in Boynton Beach and Brevard and Duval counties will feel the bite: An extra $50 tacked onto their fine.
"We wanted to make sure people knew about it so it's not a gotcha-type thing," said Marianne Trussell, chief safety officer for the Florida Department of Transportation in Tallahassee. "In the perfect world, there would be no citations issued and there would be no crashes."
Enhanced Penalty Zones are different lengths in each of the three interstate segments included in the three-year pilot program.
In Palm Beach County, for example, the penalty zone runs from roughly the southern city limit of Boynton Beach to just south of Gateway Boulevard.
Florida Highway Patrol troopers in each of the three counties are planning different approaches to enforce speeding for their zones.
"Drivers will probably see a heavy presence the first day," said Lt. Tim Frith in Palm Beach County, adding that troopers will write fines in the Enhanced Penalty Zone and regular stretches of the interstate if they are not tied up with a wreck.
In Duval County, troopers will hit the road sometime this week but won't flood the Enhanced Penalty Zone, from mile marker 342 to mile marker 348, exclusively, Lt. William Leeper said.
And drivers in Brevard County may not notice an additional police presence in the penalty zone running from mile marker 206 to mile marker 233. That's because troopers and sheriff's deputies have already focused on the area and are allowed to work overtime details enforcing the speed limit, said Trooper Kim Miller, spokeswoman for the FHP in Brevard County.
County clerks will track the number of fines issued in the penalty zones.
The Palm Beach County Clerk and Comptroller's Office will be able to keep track of the number of citations because troopers will write a unique Florida statute on the citation that pertains to the Enhanced Penalty Zone.
Computers that handle the payment of traffic fines have been reprogrammed to recognize the new statute and automatically disburse the money speeders pay to the agencies that benefit from the increased fine.
Half of the additional $50 generated from the Enhanced Penalty Zones will help provide care for patients with brain and spinal cord injuries. The other half goes to trauma centers in the counties with penalty zones.
Transportation officials are hoping the bright signs and larger fines will remind drivers to ease off the accelerator because crashes that involve speeding are more likely to end in death.
I-95 in Palm Beach County, where motorists drive at an average of 85 mph, averaged 19 speed-related crashes every 10 miles in 2004. The statewide average was six crashes.
"The intent was to see if the threat of increased fines will get drivers to slow down," said Duval County's Leeper. "In three years we will have crash data to see if crashes related to speeding have decreased."
If the program is a success, Enhanced Penalty Zones may be on tap for other counties with higher-than-average crash rates related to speeding, according to the Department of Transportation.
Chrystian Tejedor can be reached at email@example.com or 561-243-6645.