Slow down. Troopers are targeting these 19 areas in South Florida

Careful, lead foot. Florida’s troopers have figured out where to get you.

So slow down when you hit these 19 “hot spots” on South Florida’s roadways. These are the areas where troopers will be hunting for speeders and aggressive motorists.

Last year was the deadliest on Florida’s roadways since 2007, with about 3,100 people killed. To prevent a repeat, the Florida Highway Patrol used crash data and other information to pick out areas to target.

In South Florida, those zones include:

— In Coral Springs, an area south of Wiles Road to Royal Palm Boulevard, and west of Coral Ridge Drive to U.S. 441.

— In Fort Lauderdale, a swath between Davie Boulevard and Oakland Park Boulevard, bordered to the west by Interstate 95 and to the east by Federal Highway.

— In Hollywood, in the Highland Garden and north central area.

— In Coconut Creek, three zones located between Johnson Road and the Sawgrass Expressway, between U.S. 441 and Lyons Road, and east of along West Copans Road.

— In Palm Beach County, five zones located mostly between the Florida Turnpike and I-95, from Boca Raton north to West Palm Beach.

— In Miami-Dade, there are five hot spots, the largest of which flows northeast from the Miami International Airport, bordered on the east by I-95 and to the north by Ali Baba Avenue in Opa Locka. There is a zone in the southernmost region of Hialeah, two others that encompasses Little Havana and Miami Beach, and a zone extending south from the airport, from West Miami to Coral Gables.

If you’re caught speeding, fines range from $129 to $279, and they can double in school or construction zones.

The tougher enforcement in these areas could reverse a three-year decline in the number of tickets written in the region and statewide.

The six-county district patrolled by Troop L — which includes Broward, Palm Beach, Indian River, Martin, Okeechobee and Saint Lucie Counties — issued 116,349 tickets in 2014, compared with 114,613 in 2015 and 95,329 in 2016.

The two-county district patrolled by Troop E, which includes Miami-Dade and Monroe Counties, issued 109,275 tickets in 2014, vs.102,508 in 2015, and 95,391 in 2016.

One of the Florida Highway Patrol’s top supervisors, Major Mark Welch, commander of Troop H in the northeast region of the state, suggested that troopers who volunteer to work overtime in hot spots need to write more tickets.

“The patrol wants to see two citations per hour,” Welch wrote, according to a report in the Tampa Bay Times.

State troopers, among the lowest paid in the country, get overtime to run the crackdown.

In his email, Welch noted that the Legislature and Gov. Rick Scott recently gave patrol officers a 5 percent pay raise, "which has also increased your overtime rate.’’

North Florida troopers are writing an average of 1.3 tickets per hour in the program. Welch said that’s not good enough, "so we have a goal to reach."

Quotas are illegal and since the email went out, FHP officials have sought to explain Welch’s comments.

Beth Frady, spokeswoman for the FHP, said the highway patrol doesn’t require quotas. But the email points to a higher level of enforcement.

“It’s still their discretion on whether to write a ticket or issue a warning,” Frady said.

On Friday, the highway patrol announced a separate statewide crackdown on motorists who drive aggressively around large trucks. In addition to writing tickets, the FHP is working with the Florida Trucking Association in schools and community centers to educate drivers, promote safe driving habits and increase awareness.

Nearly 90 percent of fatal crashes involving large trucks are caused by both . Only 12 percent are the result of poor weather, mechanical problems or road conditions, the highway patrol said.

Staff writer Wayne Roustan contributed to this report.


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