Is the state ignoring the dangers they are creating on our roads?
PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. (CBS12) —
We have all seen the dangerous debris on our roads.
Now, CBS12 Investigates found one of the bigger problems of debris on the road is property of the State of Florida.
Plastic delineator poles designed with your safety in mind are coming loose and when drivers hit them they go flying.
ACCIDENTS INVOLVING POLES
Driver Michael Pine vividly remembers the day a piece of plastic flew right at him.
"These things could have flown through the windshield and cause serious harm," he said.
Pine said it happened along I-95 in Broward County last October.
He said not one but three of the plastic divider poles came barreling at his car damaging it.
They're used to separate travel lanes on the pay as you drive I-95 Express.
The damage is the result he said of drivers playing a deadly game of lane diving; Impatient motorists jumping in and out of express lanes.
It killed a father of four on a motorcycle in Miami after someone swerved into his express lane.
And airbags saved another man and a mother from losing her son.
"People go in and out of the express lanes willy-nilly," she said.
The problem is so severe that the Florida Department of Transportation recently installed more durable poles on a portion of the express lane designed to withstand being run over.
At $38 apiece, the state has already spent more than a quarter of a million dollars replacing more than 6,000 poles since January.
Pine filed a claim with FDOT for the damage to his car, but the state denied it claiming FDOT "had no prior knowledge of loose delineator poles in the road way."
The letter was dated February 21, 2017 right as the state was in the middle of replacing the existing poles.
FDOT refused repeated requests to speak with us about this on-camera.
So, we went to their Ft. Lauderdale office to ask them directly.
They said they couldn't talk citing legal issues, saying there are lawsuits involving the poles.
They sent us this statement:
FDOT: Safety is the Florida Department of Transportation's (FDOT) top priority. In coordination with the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP), FDOT has completed installing new, more durable plastic poles in Miami-Dade County and reduced the spacing between these poles. This safety measure will better separate 95 Express from the non-tolled general use lanes and discourage "lane diving" which is the unsafe practice of driving over the plastic poles to get in or out of the express lanes.
"They're aware of the problem and they chose to ignore it. We need to stop the possibility of people dying from driving in this lane," Pine said.
The design and construction of pay express lanes in southern Palm Beach County is expected to begin later this year and be completed by 2021.