Dear D.O.T., and County Commissioners,
How many more accidents need to happen in the express lanes before you acknowledge that this is really dangerous?
How many more people need to suffer serious injuries in the express lanes before you acknowledge that the express lanes simply don’t work?
How many more people need to die in the express lanes before you reconfigure them?
We placed the DOT on notice of this dangerous condition months ago, and their response was that they were investigating the particular incident that injured our client.
Jeff Weinsier, Channel 10 news investigator, did a detailed story on the dangerous condition that the DOT created and the increase in accidents since the creation of the express lanes. Incredibly enough the DOT spokesperson said that the DOT express lanes were safe, and that the problem is that the motorists do not obey traffic rules-No kidding!!!!!!!! That’s the point! Motorists do not obey the rules, the FHP is scared to enforce the traffic rules, and lanes simply don’t work.
The latest accident took place yesterday when a motorist decided he wasn’t going to obey the rules and cut into the express lanes from a complete stop. Aledys Llorens, was riding his motorcycle in the northbound lanes and was unable to avoid the much slower moving car, rear-ended it and was thrown onto the opposite southbound side of the expressway.
The motorcyclist, Aledys Llorens, was 28 years old, and the father of a 4 year old daughter.
As reported by channel 4 news, The family blames his death largely on a lack of adequate barricades separating regular lanes from express toll lanes. Flimsy plastic polls are the only divider between traffic traveling at a high rate of speed in the toll lanes and motorists in the slower, non-toll lanes.
“He didn’t expect that and his reaction time was less than seconds, and he didn’t have time to do anything,” his uncle said.
Florida State Trooper Joe Sanchez called the plastic dividers and close proximity between the express lanes and regular lanes “the perfect ingredients for a disaster.”
“Anytime those vehicles cut into these express lanes, they’re violating somebody’s right of way and, in many cases, these accidents result in injuries, and at times, even fatalities,” Sanchez said.
State troopers say distracted or often impatient drivers routinely whip into the express lanes. Angela Birdman knows all about it.
“It’s really a mess,” Birdman told CBS4 News on Thursday.
Her son’s SUV was totaled a couple of weeks ago, after he was cut off by a driver who steered illegally into the express lane on I-95. Alec Birdman, 24, was saved thanks to deployed airbags. His late model Dodge was destroyed.
His mother is furious with the highway design.
“People go in and out of the express lanes willy-nilly, and it’s constantly causing accidents,” Angela said.
Why not a more substantial barrier, like concrete ones being built for express lanes on I-75 in Broward County?
A spokesman for the DOT says there’s not enough room on I-95 for concrete barriers and the plastic poles are regularly inspected and replaced when missing.
A CBS4 News crew, however, had no trouble finding lots of missing poles along stretches of Broward and Miami-Dade counties Thursday.
Birdman says if the barriers can’t be improved, there has to be another solution.
“We need to make it a serious penalty for people who cross these barricades and have accidents,” she said. “Make this a crime like drunk-driving.”
Whatever else the future might hold, the plan is to expand the express lane system — plastic divider poles and all — all the way from Miami to Delray Beach; a 50-mile stretch.
Please sign our petition and force the DOT to stop putting profits ahead of people.