Florida's Text While Driving Ban May Actually Get Some Teeth

Categories: Road Rage

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Intel Free Press via Wikimedia Commons
Passed in 2013, Florida's law outlawing texting while driving isn't really so much of a ban as it is a gentle plea to "please don't do that." Cops cannot pull you over solely for texting while driving, and even then the highest fine is just $60.

In fact, as of September, when the law had been in effect for a year, only 352 tickets had been issued here in Miami-Dade, the state's largest county (with perhaps the worst drivers).

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Motorcyclist Loses Control During Wheelie Spree, Falls From I-95 to His Death

Categories: Road Rage

photo by Xemenendura via Wikimedia Commons
A man performs a stunt on his motorcycle.Motorcyclists performing death-defying stunts at high speeds while weaving through traffic on I-95 are not, unfortunately, an unusual sight in Miami, but last night those tricks proved deadly for one man.

Police say the man, either 25 or 26 years old, lost control of his bike while driving at high speeds and popping wheelies. He crashed into a light pole, the bike caught fire, and the driver was ejected over the side of the elevated interstate.

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Judge: Hollywood Violated State Law With Red Light Camera Ticket

Categories: Road Rage

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Photo by Derek Jensen via Wikimedia Commons
Yesterday Eric Arem, a Hollywood resident, won a court ruling: His red light camera citation was thrown out.

At issue was that Arem hadn't actually received the ticket from the City of Hollywood. Instead, it was issued by a Tempe, Arizona-based company, American Traffic Solutions (ATS). ATS operates the majority of Florida's hugely unpopular red light cameras, and the City of Hollywood had allowed the company to issue tickets when it caught cars speeding through the lights.

"Such outsourcing to a third-party for-profit vendor... to issue uniform traffic citations for red light camera violations is contrary to the plain wording of the Florida Statutes," wrote Judge Mark Klingensmith.

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Venetian Causeway Now Set To Close Next Spring For Nine-Month Construction Project

Categories: Road Rage

Photo by Marc Averette via Wikimedia Commons
The news hit Miami Beach residents back in April like an early season tropical depression: the decaying Venetian Causeway would have to close for the better part of a year for a rebuilding project. For residents who've lived through more than a year of Alton Road traffic-pocalypse, losing the causeway would be a nightmare.

That construction was originally projected to start this fall, but SoBe drivers can hold off on the extra therapy sessions for another few months. City officials now tell Riptide work won't start until next spring.

See also: Venetian Causeway Will Close for Months, Then Beach Residents Won't Get Toll Passes

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Dozens Are Injured Every Year on Miami-Dade Buses, Often by Drivers With Bad Records

Categories: Road Rage

Photo by Ed Webster via Wikimedia Commons
The afternoon of May 31, 2008, a vigorous 95-year-old named Alice Mathas spent hours walking around South Beach with her son Paul. Around 7:45 the pair boarded a Miami-Dade bus headed back to their apartment in Bal Harbour.

They didn't make it. As Alice started down the aisle of the crowded bus, the driver pumped the accelerator, and the tiny nonagenarian went crashing forward.

The bus driver, Faydra Cooper, had already racked up a worrying history during five years as a county bus driver. Among others things, she had been cited three times for preventable accidents and once for squatting next to her seat and urinating on the bus floor. She was reprimanded on several occasions and suspended once, but still allowed to get behind the wheel. After the incident, Paul Mathas says, his mom has never been the same.

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Businesses Worry as South Beach Construction Moves on to West Avenue

Categories: Road Rage

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Photo by Lyssa Goldberg
Anyone who's tried to drive through South Beach in the past year can tell you that Alton Road has been a construction-induced nightmare: snarled bumper-to-bumper traffic and nearly impossible pedestrian access to shops and restaurants.

Good news! The work on Alton is nearly done. But that means the next phase of the work will soon begin on West Avenue -- a street with nearly as many businesses and far more residents. Some businesses owners are already crying mercy.

"The pace of the construction, it's so slow," complains Mishal Alsabbagh, who owns Pure Pharmacy on West Avenue at Ninth Street. "And the fact that they wanted to start on West Avenue right after that? It's a killer for us."

See also: Alton Road Construction to Finish Up Seven Months Early

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Miami Renews Push for Streetcar System in Urban Core

Categories: Road Rage

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State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory
Miami may be looking to the past for its public transportation future. In the '20s and '30s, streetcars zoomed through the city of Miami, and now city commissioners have renewed a push to bring them back.

According to Miami Today, the plan had gained steam back in 2006 but lost priority after the real estate crash. Now, Commissioner Marc Sarnoff is leading a push to find funding for the idea.

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One Year After Ban, Only 352 People Have Been Cited For Texting While Driving in Miami

Categories: Road Rage

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Intel Free Press via Wikimedia Commons
As of last October 1, texting while driving in Florida is illegal. But almost one year after the ban went into effect, it's clear police across the state -- and in Miami-Dade County -- are rarely enforcing the law.

Only 352 texting while driving citations have been issued in the county in 2013, a spokesman for the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) tells Riptide. In that same time period, over 50,000 non-criminal moving violations were issued in Miami-Dade, according to FHP statistics.

See also: Florida's Texting-While-Driving Ban Starts Today, Will Probably Stop No One From Texting While Driving

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Fontainebleau, Eden Roc Workers Fuming After City Cancels Parking Permits

Categories: Road Rage

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Photo by Ebyabe via Wikimedia Commons
Being a hotel worker is hard -- low pay, long hours, ungrateful clientele. But for hundreds of workers at the Fontainebleau and theEden Roc in Miami Beach, life just got that much harder: Because of a change in city parking policy, employees are no longer able to use a nearby parking facility and now must walk across the 41st Street canal.

"Housekeepers, bellmen and -women, servers, bartenders, cooks in both hotels are now forced to walk a half-mile over a bridge after eight hours of hard labor," says one food service worker at the Fontainebleau who requested anonymity because he feared retaliation from the hotel.

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Wynwood Parking Is the "Wild, Wild West"

Categories: Road Rage

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Photo by Trevor Bach
Parking authority chief Art Noriega, left, and entrepreneur Mario Cruz discuss Wynwood parking
At a breakfast networking event in Wynwood this morning, Miami Parking Authority chief Art Noriega, addressing the ongoing parking changes that have rankled the neighborhood's businesses, called Wynwood a kind of "Wild Wild West" of parking and said his agency is working to refine its system.

"We knew that the process in Wynwood was going to evolve on a kind of month-to-month basis, because this area changes so much," he said. "The interest for me...to come here was to listen."

See also: Waffles and Parking Debate in Wynwood This Morning

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