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Traffic Fatalities At Three-Decade Low In Florida

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(Source: AP)

(Source: AP)

Miami Central High To Welcome Obama & Bush
MIAMI (CBS4) - There are some happy seniors at Miami Central Senior High. Not only are they college bound, but they are about to get a visit from a former governor and the President of the United States. It's a far cry from the down and out feeling Ashley Wyche had four-years-ago. She recalled, “We were a five-time “F” (rated) school; and people outside the school always talked bad, like we were dumb.” Then came the turnaround, the kind pushed by former Florida governor, Jeb Bush; and the one now preached by President Obama. Both will visit the school together Friday. They will hear about the emphasis on higher standards, the sweep that brought in a new principal and pushed out many teachers. The two men will also hear about the fresh energy provided by young teachers just out of college who are working for Teach for America. John Thornburgh is one of them. He is teaching 12th grade government classes at Miami Central. “I think students expect more of themselves to begin with, and I think that comes from both the teachers and the students,” Thornburgh said. What a difference a few years makes. Miami Central has earned a “C” ranking, its best to date. Wyche is headed off to college to pursue an art career and her spirits are soaring. She said of the school makeover, “They kicked out students who were not serious about education, brought in newer teachers fresh from college, tutors to help us.” And now President Obama and a former governor will praise Miami Central’s efforts as they try to help right what is wrong with a U.S. education system falling behind international peers. Wyche beamed when she said, “It is a great honor for Obama to choose our school. I think it is a prize Central won.”

TALLAHASSEE (CBS4)-Preliminary figures released Wednesday from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles show crash fatalities fall for the sixth year straight.

According to the department, 2,373 people died in traffic crashes on Florida’s roadways. That’s down from 2,444 traffic crash deaths reported in 2010.

The number of crash fatalities in 2011 is the lowest the state has reported since 1978 even though the Sunshine State’s population has doubled since that time, according to the department.

“The Department’s No. 1 priority is to protect the lives and personal security of our residents and visitors through enforcement, service and education,” said DHSMV Executive Director Julie L. Jones. “While the six-year downward trend is encouraging, we continue our strategic efforts to drive down the number of crashes in Florida and the number of injuries and fatalities that come as a result.”

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among those age 5 to 34 in the U.S., according to a report online by The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report.

Understanding that the leading cause of death for so many is preventable, the Director of the Florida Highway Patrol, Col. David Brierton, echoed Jones’ commitment to saving lives.

“The men and women of FHP patrol Florida’s highways 24/7 to make them safe,” said Brierton. “Our law enforcement partners and public safety stakeholders are also important to the solution. Motorists can do their part, too, when they buckle up and drive sober.”

The Department will publish the final count for 2011 later this year in its annual Traffic Crash Statistics Report 2011. But reports from previous years are available online at www.flhsmv.gov/html/safety.html.

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