Trauma centers may have to wait months for super speed infusion - Local & State - Macon.com
Saturday, Jan. 09, 2010
Trauma Centers May Have to Wait Months for Super Speed Infusion
By LIZ FABIAN - email@example.com
The state’s financially failing trauma centers will have to wait for an infusion of fresh cash from Georgia’s new super speeder law.
While the new law took effect Jan. 1, it could be months before the state collects additional fees and money is tallied.
PHOTO: BEAU CABELL/THE TELEGRAPH Bibb County sheriff’s deputy Andrae Holmes uses a laser device to check speeds as he patrols interstate traffic. “It only takes me about four minutes to write a ticket,” he said about his efficiency.
In Bibb County, only one offender reached “super speeder” status in the first week, said Chief Deputy David Davis of the Bibb County Sheriff’s Office.
The Houston County Sheriff’s Office has written three super speeder citations since the new year began, said Capt. Robert West, who heads the department’s traffic and patrol divisions.
“We haven’t even gotten our new tickets yet,” West said. “We’re just writing in our remarks whether it is a two- or a four-lane road.”
The law tacks on an extra $200 above the jurisdiction’s regular speeding fine if a driver hits 75 mph on a two-lane road or 85 mph on a four-lane. If violators do not pay the state fine within 90 days, their licenses will be suspended. It will cost an additional $50 for the license to be reinstated.
Katie Fallon, assistant public information officer for the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, said the Department of Driver Services will track the violations and issue state citations.
Davis said it’s his understanding the local citations will go through the regular court system and then be sent to the state as always. The Department of Driver Services will then send letters to qualifying violators and levy the additional $200 fine.
“It’s a good tool to get drivers to be mindful to not be speeding,” Davis said. “The main thing the deputy is concerned with is stopping the violator.”
Davis said his department sees a few instances each month where speeders top 30 or 40 mph above posted speed limits.
In the first seven days since the new law went into effect, one ticket was written for 86 mph on Emery Highway at a stretch that is four lanes divided by a median.
“The money raised is for something needed, and it’s obvious a lot of work the trauma centers see is the result of speeding,” he said.
Sgt. Dale Watson of the Georgia State Patrol’s post in Milledgeville said it’s too early to determine whether the law will have an impact on reducing speeds.
“We’re just doing business as usual,” Watson said. “Are people slowing down? I really can’t tell. It’s about the same. We just need to give it a little bit more time.”
West is also taking a wait-and-see approach to determine whether the law could be successful.
“It ought to be beneficial for the state,” West said. “It’s going to be tough on drivers, though.”