Our South Florida criminal defense attorneys recently read in the South Florida Sun Sentinel that tax-payers are funding take-home vehicles for employees of the Broward and Palm Beach County sheriff’s offices. Deputies are permitted to drive department-issued vehicles to and from work and for personal use depending on the county. Some even get free, unlimited gas, which is subsidized by tax-payers.
In Palm Beach County, over 1,500 employees of the Sheriff’s Office drive cars home and more than 10% of those employees live outside Palm Beach County. Close to 3,000 Broward Sheriff’s Office employees drive take-home cars, but it’s not known how many of those employees live outside of Broward County.
The policy has been defended as a benefit to the public, because it supposedly serves as a deterrent to would be criminals. Another rationale is that it allows officers to respond more quickly to emergencies.
However, these take-home cars cost the counties millions of dollars each year. The Broward Sheriff’s Office reportedly spends about $19 million annually on gal, vehicle maintenance and replacement, but it’s unknown how much of those costs are a result of the take-home car policy. West Palm Beach has restricted its take-home car policy to officers living in or near the area. The city saved over a half million dollars by revoking vehicle privileges from 80 employees.
The question remains: should take-home cars be a tax-payer expense? And is the added crime prevention worth the added expense?
Source: South Florida deputies get take-home cars – and we pay, South Florida Sun Sentinel, November 13, 2010 (more…)
Sporadic system crashes at DMVs across the state have led to longer wait times for license renewals and other tasks, frustrating Florida drivers and officials alike. Since November 3, the system has been crashing intermittently, and IBM has declared the situation critical. A spokesperson for the DMV said the situation has not yet been fixed.
Because of stricter ID requirements for getting a driver’s license following 9/11, Florida motorists already faced frustratingly long wait times at DMV offices. Long waits were made even worse at the Deerfield office when two bathrooms went out of order, sending sewage up through the floor.
However, officials have assured the public that those in line by 5pm would be assisted by DMV employees.
Source: Driver license renewal wait gets longer because of intermittent system crashes, South Florida Sun Sentinel, November 12, 2010 (more…)
Our Coconut Creek traffic lawyers have learned that the signage in an area of the Sawgrass Expressway is creating confusion among drivers. One Florida motorist from Lake Worth even got a $165 traffic ticket after following instructions to “keep right,” then crossing the white line to head north on the turnpike because her lane was not on the right. She was cited for driving through a safety zone.
The woman fought the ticket in court, arguing that the tollbooth canopy blocked her view of overhead signs instructing drivers which lane they should be in. A judge will determine if the ticket still stands.
No statistics were available how many other drivers had been cited for improper lane changes in the area, turnpike authorities say they are aware of a problem and are examining ways to improve electronic signs above the plaza to make lane information more clear.
Source: Sawgrass drivers find Deerfield toll plaza confusing, The South Florida Sun Sentinel, November 13, 2010 (more…)
Our South Florida traffic attorneys have learned that the site of the old Coca-Cola bottling plant on South Andrews Avenue may be turned into a 1,000-space parking garage for the new courthouse. A Broward County committee unanimously recommended the site, which will then go before the Broward County Commission for approval.
A Fort Lauderdale-based project developer competed against two other bids and won the committee’s recommendation. It has vowed to stay within the county’s $29.5 million budget and create a covered walkway leading to the courthouse. The developer also estimates that the garage could be completed in 18 months after permits are approved.
The parking garage contract bidding war had pitted several of Fort Lauder’s bigwigs against each other.
Source: Old Coca-Cola site on South Andrews Avenue gets committee’s nod for courthouse parking garage, South Florida Sun Sentinel, November 4, 2010 (more…)
Speed traps abound here in South Florida, and the Palm Beach Post is asking readers to write in with the location of speed traps around the region. The Post’s Watchdog team is planning to examine the topic for a future story about Palm Beach County speed traps and how much the county makes from these areas.
They’ll also be pondering the question on many Florida drivers’ minds: do speed traps protect public safety or are they a sneaky way of generating revenue?
So far, almost a hundred readers have written in with warnings about local speed traps. According to the Post, some residents even spend time waving handmade signs warning other drivers about spots where Florida traffic cops typically hang out, waiting to issue speeding tickets.
Florida Criminal Lawyers