The horror of driving to Downtown Miami from Coral Gables in 5 p.m. traffic is closely related to that of falling off the roof of a 10-story building. Traffic laws are a joke to most drivers, so lawful drivers must drive like maniacs themselves to avoid disaster. Basically, if you want to be safe, drive unsafely.
The reality of driving involves you taking your life into your hands every time you turn on your engine and make that right-hand turn onto U.S. 1. But, are the inherit risks higher in Miami than, say, Orlando?
Here are some statistics. According to car accident statistics for Miami-Dade County, of the 48,537 car accidents in Dade, 10,814 of them were city of Miami car accidents as of 2005. Also in 2005, 81 Miami-Dade County pedestrian accidents were fatal. At UM, students understand the heartbreak of losing two students last semester who were hit by cars.
Is this simply negligence on the driver’s part or also of the police? I honestly think the police are not strict enough on unsafe driving. Sure, they have installed red light cameras and often put up DUI checkpoints, but it is obviously not slowing down the traffic on U.S. 1 or anywhere in the Gables for that matter.
I cannot say I am innocent, for I too speed through a 45-mph zone by at least 10 mph. I have also accidently run a red light or two. I have never been caught.
Still, there is not a day I get behind the wheel in Miami and am not cut off by some jerk in their Prius. And of course, no one understands what a blinker is for. To most people driving in Miami, it is a decorative light used to make the car sparkle and shine.
Something must be done to ensure the safety of drivers, bikers and pedestrians. How many more students must be killed before a bridge is build for their safety? How many times must a red light be run before a police officer takes notice? If it were up to me, police officers would be working on giving out tickets for important things, such as speeding, turning without signaling and running red lights, not for parking. The only way anyone will be safe is if every driver takes notice of road laws and officers begin to actually enfore those laws.
How many more fender benders and pedestrian deaths must we endure?
Jenny Hamilton is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism and sports administration. She may be contacted firstname.lastname@example.org.