FHP steps up patrols after 7News shows dangerous drop-off

(WSVN) - We all have tricks to get through South Florida traffic. In May, we showed you how some parents are causing major concerns when they drop off their kids for school. Our story got the attention of the Florida Highway Patrol. 7’s Brian Entin shows us how they’re making changes in the special report, “Dangerous Drop-off.”

Trooper Joe Sanchez, Florida Highway Patrol: “Look at this! This kid almost got hit by a car.”

Before summer break, 7News showed you parents dropping off Mater Academy students on the off-ramp of the Palmetto Expressway in Hialeah.

Trooper: “Why would you drop off your son here on a highway ramp?”

Parent: “We always do, so I don’t know.”

Trooper: “You always do, but do you know that’s illegal?”

With school back in session, 7News went to see if the dangerous drop-offs had stopped.

Once again, our cameras caught dozens of kids running through busy rush hour traffic and walking down the dark ramp to 103rd Street in Hialeah. Some parents were not happy to see us.

The Florida Highway Patrol says parents should be more concerned about putting their children in danger than getting caught on camera.

Lt. Alex Camacho, Florida Highway Patrol: “People shouldn’t be getting upset about this. They need to understand that we’re doing it for the purpose of saving lives.”

FHP is now passing out these fliers with the law, specifying “stopping, standing or parking is prohibited in specified places.”

Lt. Alex Camacho: “We are out here to avoid a tragedy. It is the only way we can do it, by being visible and making sure these children are safe by enforcing these laws.”

Our cameras were there as troopers escorted kids getting out in traffic back to their parent’s vehicle.

Lt. Alex Camacho: “We put your child back in your vehicle, and you drop them off where they’re supposed to be dropped off.”

Mater Academy officials wouldn’t speak on camera but tell 7News parents were told drop-off rules at student orientation before the school year started, and that the off-ramp was off limits.

Lt. Alex Camacho: “It makes me feel kind of shocked that parents would allow this to happen, just to maybe avoid getting caught in some traffic.”

With more patrols, we saw a dramatic decline in the amount of children being dropped off in traffic. It’s a welcome sight for these troopers.

Lt. Alex Camacho: “You brought it to our attention, and I think that by working together, we were able to reach the goal that we wanted, which was to deter this type of behavior from continuing to happen.”

Drivers aren’t being ticketed yet. Camacho says that will change if the dangerous drop-off continues.

FHP plans to have at least one patrol on duty most mornings.

Drivers caught dropping anyone off on the ramp will face a $129 fine. To see the full statute go to the link below.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Florida Statute:
http://www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0300-0399/0316/Sections/0316.1945.html

Florida Highway Patrol:
https://www.flhsmv.gov/florida-highway-patrol/about-fhp/

Copyright 2018 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.