Local police agencies host event to promote safe driving practices

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Local police agencies host annual safety event on campus Photo credit: Shawn Fortune

Students walking to class Wednesday morning couldn’t help but notice the flashing red and blue lights from dozens of police vehicles on campus.

From 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Oct. 30, Florida Department of Transportation District Six and South Florida police agencies gathered around the Rock on the University of Miami campus for the “Put it Down” Distracted Driving Awareness Campaign and annual safety fair event.

The purpose of the annual event is to raise educate and promote mobility safety, whether by driving, walking or riding a bike. At the Florida Highway Patrol tent, officers were running the DUI simulator, featuring goggles that impaired your ability to see, as if you were under the influence. Among the other vendors were Miami Beach Police, the University of Miami Police Department and the University of Miami Emergency Management Team.

“Everything you see here you can touch, you can feel, you can experience,” said Officer Alexandra Martinez, the crime prevention officer for UMPD. “I really believe events like these affect our chances of saving lives. If people walk away with one piece of information they didn’t know before, we’re doing our jobs here.”

UM alumni Ernesto Arguello was at the event to speak about his invention of the “Snap2Live belt,” an every-day belt that resembles a seatbelt. The purpose of the belt is to start conversations and raise awareness about the importance of wearing a seatbelt in the car.

“Every six seconds someone dies or is disabled on the roads,” Arguello said. “Road crashes are entirely preventable. We wanted to join the fight to keep young people alive.”