Speeders In Georgia To Pay Extra For Police Fuel

HOLLY SPRINGS, Ga. — The surging price of gasoline has come to this: a “fuel surcharge” on your next speeding ticket.

Drivers caught speeding in this north Atlanta suburb soon will have to pay an extra $12 — to cover $4-a-gallon gas costs for the police officers who stop them.

The City Council passed the fee hike, effective July 1, to offset fuel prices that have eaten up nearly 60% of the police department’s 2008 fuel budget, Police Chief Ken Ball says.

He expects the fee increase, which applies to all moving violations and can be rescinded if gas prices fall below $3 a gallon, to generate $19,500 to $26,000 a year for the town of 7,700.

Ball says he was seeking ways to maintain patrols despite record high gas prices. “I was hearing that Delta (Air Lines), pizza deliverers, florists were adding fuel charges to their services, and I thought, why not police departments?” he says.

Atlanta might be next. Monday, the City Council approved by a 13-0 vote Councilman C.T. Martin’s proposal to add a $10-$15 surcharge for motorists convicted of speeding and other moving violations, Martin says. “I want to recover the cost of the extra gas … without raising property taxes,” he says. The legislation awaits Mayor Shirley Franklin’s approval.

Other cities could follow. Ball says he’s being “inundated” by calls from police chiefs and city managers. “I’ve heard from at least a dozen police chiefs and half a dozen city managers,” he says of the measure passed Monday night. “They want to know how we did it, and could we send them a copy of the ordinance.”

Wendy Balazik, spokeswoman for the International Association of Chiefs of Police, says she’s not aware of any other cities adding such a surcharge. “But it makes sense,” she says. “Law enforcement agencies are already facing a number of financial pressures, and rising fuel costs can’t help the situation at all.”

The National League of Cities says it is unaware of other cities adding such fees.

The national average cost for a gallon of regular gas was $4.078 Tuesday, according to auto club AAA and the Oil Price Information Service.

Katie Harris, 20, a babysitter and student at Georgia Perimeter College, doesn’t like the new fines. “It always seems like government officials are trying to take money from citizens’ pockets,” she says.

Holly Springs Mayor Tim Downing says: “This is a self-taxing system. If you don’t break the law, you don’t pay the tax.”

By Larry Copeland, USA Today

Georgia Speeding Ticket?

Hundreds Netted in Georgia State Patrol Special Speeding Ticket Operation

Thomasville, Georgia– Trooper first class Craig Singletary regularly patrols U.S. highway 19, also called Georgia state highway 300. “300 is a very busy highway,” he said. “Its extremely busy as far as day in and day out traffic. With that, the increased speeds make it a more high risk highway.”

Another factor contributing to the highway’s “high risk” classification: the sheer number of accidents they work on this road. “There’s a lot of fatal crashes in this area and it is a lot of times due to high speeding and DUI drivers,” Singletary explained. Troopers decided to crack down on the area by stepping up their day to day enforcement with what they call a concentrated patrol.

“It started in the early morning hours of May 5th and it pretty much went until midnight of that particular night,” said Thomasville Post Commander, Sergeant Ronald Warren. Twenty-one troopers from the Thomasville and Albany posts worked together to patrol the stretch of highway between the 2 cities.

“We’re trying to target the aggressive drivers, the speeders, those who are changing lanes improperly, and those who are just being a little bit careless,” said Warren. In the 16 straight hours of patrolling, troopers wrote 180 tickets, 70 warnings, made 1 DUI arrest, and slowed countless others down without ever pulling them over.

“Concentrating on one area, it tends to slow people down. It’s not all about writing tickets and citations its about just being visible and slowing traffic down to make the highway a safer place to travel,” said Singletary. That, they say, is their top priority.

Georgia State Patrol conducts a concentrated patrol somewhere in the state every month to crack down on high risk drivers.

Article by Sarah Baldwin, WALB News

Georgia Speeding Ticket Laws

Georgia State Patrol Cuts Gas Costs

In an interesting story from TV 11 in Atlanta, reporter Kevin Rowson notes that even the law enforcement agencies have been hit by the high price at the pump. In an effort to keep up the steady stream of revenue generated by speeding tickets and other traffic tickets in the state of Georgia, yet conserve on gas, the Georgia State Highway patrol has taken to getting off the roads and using radar and laser detection to catch offenders. According to this report, it seems to be working.

High gas prices hit some people harder than others. Not many get hit as hard as the law enforcement agency that patrols our state roads. Because of that, the Georgia State Patrol is trying to conserve fuel without cutting enforcement. So far, it seems to be working.

Senior Trooper Larry Schnall is on the road all day, like most of his fellow troopers. You can probably imagine how gas prices can add up. Because of the recent conservation efforts he says fuel consumption has been cut significantly.

“Basically what we’re trying to do is encourage our enforcement officers to simply take alternate areas of patrol, discretionary patrols,” Trooper Schnall said.

What that means is troopers won’t be simply driving around I-285 all day long. You will see more of them stopped on the side of the road running radar and laser.

“You could be visible, stop car after car for speeding and still save miles rather than riding around,” Trooper Schnall said.

He said troopers will be doing more checkpoints for sobriety and licenses. Those efforts will not only cut mileage but also cut wear and tear on patrol cars.

Trooper Schnall says the cutbacks in mileage will have no affect enforcement.

“Public safety’s not gonna be affected at all we’re still out here doing our job, we’re just taking a proactive approach to reduce miles, save fuel and money,” Schnall said.

The Georgia State Patrol is taking other measures too. They are car-pooling to training. They are also switching the grade of gasoline they put in their cars from mid-level to regular unleaded. That will save the agency at least ten cents a gallon.

“Our experts have shown that there’s no damage to the vehicle so using the regular unleaded, our vehicles are not going to suffer,” he said.

The conservation measures have been in place since the first of the year. Schnall said they have already noticed a low-end savings on fuel of 15 percent. Some have saved as much as 25 percent. Those were the goals Georgia State Patrol hoped to reach when they implemented the conservation measures.

Kevin Rowson – 11alive.com

Speeding citations cease in Midville

No one is accusing Midville of being a speed trap these days.

Not one speeding ticket has been written by the town’s police department in the past eight months, according to city records.

Less than three years ago, some 122 residents of the small town, which boasts a lone caution light, signed a petition stating that local police were op- erating a speed trap.

An investigation by the Georgia Department of Public Safety cleared the town after finding that only 22 percent of the police department’s budget came from speeding tickets. Forty percent constitutes a speed trap.

But, now, that number has dwindled to zero.

The last traffic citation was written just before Brian McDuffie resigned as chief in July 2007.

Current chief Byron Walker came on the job in November, but because he is not certified by the Georgia Peace Officers Standards and Training (POST) Council, he cannot write tickets.

Burke County Magistrate Court Chief Judge Curt St. Germaine said his office has not held court in Midville since September of last year.

City council voted two weeks ago to place Walker on administrative leave without pay until he earns his POST certification.

In the meantime, the town is being lightly patrolled by parttime officer Robert Baynham.

Baynham is POST certified as an officer but said he has not written a speeding ticket since he joined the Midville Police Department in 2005.

He said he needs a radar certification card from POST to operate radar but does not have one.

However, Azra Keeling, of POST’s records department, said Baynham has been radarcertified since November 2006.

Council member Sam Cummings said he would be sure to look into the issue.

Though there is not a fulltime police presence in Midville, Cummings said Burke County Sheriff’s deputies routinely patrol the city. He added the Wadley Police Department would be on call if needed.

By Anne Marie Kyzer, truecitizen.com

Georgia Speeding Ticket Points

New School Zones May Mean More Radar Speeding Tickets For Peach Tree City GA Drivers

Hello, speeding tickets.

Drivers may soon have quite a few more school zones to tangle with, if several new and expanded zones are approved as expected by the Peachtree City Council Thursday night.

City staff is not only proposing the creation of eight new “school zones” on city streets, but also is increasing the length of eight of the 13 existing school zones.

A new zone will show up on busy Peachtree Parkway North near McIntosh High School, where now none exists.

That raises the probability of lots of new speeding tickets through expanded school zones, where radar-wielding officers can ticket you for going one mile per hour over the lowered speed limit.

That means, drive at 25 mph and you’re OK. Drive at 26 mph and you’ll be facing big fines.

Although Georgia law forbids local police officers from writing speeding tickets unless the recorded speed is more than 10 miles an hour over the posted limit, that law is waived for school zones, ranging from one hour before school starts until one hour after school ends.

To alert motorists, orange flags will be installed on each new school zone sign and no significant traffic enforcement is expected for the first 30 days after the new signs are installed, according to a memo from acting police chief Maj. Mike DuPree.

The proposed new school zones, which would reduce speeds from 30 mph to 25 mph are:

• NEW — On Kelly Drive near Huddleston Elementary from the Lake Peachtree bridge to a spot 400 feet east of Sweetgum; this zone is currently bound by a 30 mph limit;

• NEW — On Peachtree Parkway north near McIntosh High from 200 feet north of Walt Banks to 200 feet south of Stevens Entry; this zone is currently 30-35 mph;

• NEW — On Pinegate Road near Peachtree City Elementary from Riley Parkway to 600 feet north of Riley Parkway; this zone is currently rated at 30 mph;

• NEW — On Prime Point near McIntosh High from 50 feet east of Stevens Entry to 50 feet north of Ga. Highway 54; this zone is currently rated at 30 mph

• NEW — On Riley Parkway near Peachtree City Elementary from Flat Creek Road to Aberdeen Parkway; this zone is currently 30 mph;

• NEW — On Stevens Entry near McIntosh High from Ga. Highway 54 to Peachtree Parkway north; this zone is currently 30 mph;

• NEW — On Summit Walk near Oak Grove Elementary from Crown Point to 500 feet north of Crestwood; this zone is currently 30 mph; and

• NEW — On Waterwood Bend near Booth Middle School from 50 feet west of the southern intersection of Peachtree Parkway to 50 feet west of the northern intersection of Peachtree Parkway; this road is also currently 30 mph.

According to the staff memo to City Council on the subject, several of the new school zones wee necessary to cover multi-use path crossings that weren’t previously in a school zone.

Also the city will increase the length of eight existing speed zones as follows:

• Crosstown Drive for Oak Grove Elementary from .3 to .4 miles.

• Kedron Drive for Kedron Elementary from .3 to .4 miles.

• Log House Road for Oak Grove Elementary from .24 miles to .50 miles.

• McIntosh Trail for Huddleston Elementary from .45 to .65 miles.

• Peachtree Parkway south for Booth Middle from .26 to .50 miles.

• Robinson Road for Braelinn and Oak Grove elementary from .4 miles to 1.3 miles.

• Walt Banks Road for McIntosh High from .33 to .50 miles; and

• Wisdom Road for Peachtree City Elementary school from .3 to .4 miles.

According to the staff memo, the reason for increasing the size of existing school zones was to cover at least 200 feet from the boundary of the school or “cover the ‘common route’ to school by students.”

The city will send letters about the new school zones to parents at each school, and the new zones will be posted on the city’s website in addition to schools’ websites, DuPree said in the memo.

John Munford


 Georgia Speeding Ticket Laws

Proposed Move of Patrol Post in Columbia County Could Mean More Speeding Tickets

The planned move of a Georgia State Patrol post from Thomson to Grovetown could increase speeding tickets in Columbia County GA, but officials say it also could mean more money for the county and a greater sense of safety. Last year, Columbia County Probate Court made nearly $140,000 from citations issued by the state patrol, funds that go into the county’s general fund for county services. County Commissioner Ron Thigpen said that revenue could more than double with a state patrol post on Chamblin Road.

The commission has approved spending as much as $2 million to construct the post, projected to open as early as 2009.

“Based on what the state patrol has provided us, we would expect that (state patrol citation revenues) to be $300,000 to $400,000 a year,” Mr. Thigpen said. “In my mind, if you’re getting $400,000 a year and spending $2 million, in five years it repays itself.”

Because the Georgia State Patrol is not a revenue-generating agency, patrol Lt. Donnie Smith was unsure how much more money Columbia County might make from traffic citations.

“Typically, the county where the post is located generates a little more activity due to troopers driving to the post every day,” he said. “It’s not that we have a bigger presence by design. It’s just because of location.”

Troopers from the Thomson post patrol Richmond, Columbia, McDuffie, Glascock and Warren counties in Georgia. The agency concentrates much of its efforts in the three less-populated counties.

“The majority of our staffing will be done in the rural counties,” Lt. Smith said. “Those are the counties that we are required to aid the most. The sheriff’s department in Richmond and Columbia (counties) are capable of handling their own stuff.”

Mr. Thigpen said his estimate came from information provided by state patrol officials to Columbia County Administrator Steve Szablewski.

Mr. Szablewski told commissioners they can expect a 40 percent increase in citations issued by the state patrol within county borders.

Phone messages left for Mr. Szablewski were not immediately returned Thursday and Friday.


Georgia State Patrol citations issued in 2007:
County Citations
McDuffie 3,207
Richmond 2,157
Warren 1,778
Columbia 1,363
Glascock 194

Source: Georgia State Patrol

Donnie Fetter


Gwinnett County Police Officer Caught Speeding Found Not Guilty

An off-duty Gwinnett County Georgia police officer who was arrested and charged with drunken driving after being stopped for speeding was found not guilty Friday by a local judge.

“We feel that our trooper did his job and took a dangerous driver off of the road,” said Larry Schnall, spokesman for the State Patrol. “That trooper is an instructor in how to make proper and effective DUI traffic stops.”The judge in the case, Recorders Court Judge Patricia Muise, in Gwinnett County Ga., was not available for comment.

But Muise’s judicial assistant, Kim Everett, defended the judge’s actions.

“The evidence was presented in court and she made a decision based on the evidence,” Everett said. The trial was held Jan. 29, and Everett said she watched the proceedings.

The traffic stop occurred about 1 a.m. on Dec. 28 in the Lawrenceville area of I-85 in Georgia, according to the State Patrol.

Schnall said Cpl. Kevin Brandle was driving a GMC Yukon with two other people in the car. Cpl. Charles Chapeau, a Georgia state trooper, pulled the driver over for speeding and noticed that the occupants in the car were trying to hide some items. Chapeau also saw open containers of beer in the car.

The driver, Brandle, smelled of alcohol, had bloodshot eyes and slurred speech, Schnall said.

Chapeau charged Brandle with driving under the influence of alcohol and with having open containers of alcohol in his car, Schnall said, and Brandle’s passengers also were cited for having open containers of alcohol.

Brandle refused to take a breath test or do a field sobriety test and told the trooper that he was a Gwinnett police officer, Schnall said.

The traffic stop was videotaped and a microphone in the patrol car captures the officer cursing at the trooper, Schnall said.

Chapeau, who made the traffic stop, is a supervisor with the State Patrol and is an instructor who teaches other troopers how to detect drunken drivers.

Christine Koehler, Brandle’s defense attorney, said her client was innocent.

“The judge reviewed all the evidence, including the videotape and made her decision,” said Koehler. “Any time the Georgia State Patrol loses a case they get upset. But [Brandle] is a superior officer who has received many awards.”

Brandle has been working for the Gwinnett Police Department for about eight years, said Cpl. Illana Spellman, a department spokeswoman.

Brandle had been working in the Special Operations department, she said, but was given a “desk job” after the arrest.

The incident is being investigated by the internal affairs department, Spellman said.

Atlanta Journal Constitution Article

Free Georgia Traffic Lawyer Help in Gwinnett County

Ticket Fixing Scheme Leads To Arrests

DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. — Several traffic court employees have been arrested in a ticket-fixing scheme. DeKalb County police received a tip that court recorder Charlene Johnson, 43, was allegedly behind a ticket-fixing scheme that defrauded the state by pocketing the fines. Johnson faces 16 separate charges ranging from making a false statement to bribery and conspiracy to defraud the state.The alleged scheme involved drivers paying Johnson under the table to have the tickets reduced to warnings.

From CBS46 News

Need help with a speeding ticket in Georgia? Free Georgia Traffic Ticket attorney consultation.

Busted For Speeding; Tips If You Get Pulled Over

It happens to all of us at one time or another. In a hurry to get the kids to soccer practice, or rushing to the store to get a few things on the way home from work, you forget that your speedometer doesn’t have a mind of its own and in a flash, that dreaded scenario occurs. The flashing red lights of a traffic cop’s vehicle appear in the rear view mirror and you get that sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach..BUSTED for speeding!  Below are a few tips that may help you either avoid getting the speeding ticket in Georgia or anywhere else.

1) Pull the vehicle over to the side of the road as quickly as possible.

1) DO NOT admit that you were speeding even if you realize you were, don’t engage in unnecessary conversation with the officer as this could be used against you later

2) Maintain a calm, collected outward appearance even if you are seething inside, give it your best effort.

4)  Make sure that your vehicle is turned off.

5) Keep your hands on the wheel in the 10 and 2 position and in plain site to the officer at all times.

6) Don’t get out your driver’s license and registration until the officer asks for them.

7) Observe the officer; if he or she is in an unmarked vehicle or not wearing an easily identifiable uniform, remember this as it could help with your traffic ticket defense if you contest the speeding ticket in court.

8) Above all, treat the traffic officer with respect and be courteous at all times.

You can fight a speeding ticket in Georgia and beat it.

Pendergrass Gives Out Most Tickets in NE Georgia

In the nine years he has patrolled a stretch of U.S. Highway 129 through Pendergrass, police Sgt. Bill Garner has developed a philosophy about giving tickets, getting drunks off the road and busting illegal drivers.

“I don’t care what they’ve done,” Garner said on a recent Friday afternoon on the road. “Being mean to people isn’t going to make my day any easier.”

He’s not sure how many tickets he’s given in his tenure with the Pendergrass Police Department, but there’s a good chance that the tall officer with the clean-shaven head has given more than his fair share.

Pendergrass, after all, holds the title for collecting the most revenue from traffic fines and seized assets per resident in the Northeast Georgia region for the second year in a row. In 2006, the department took in about $558,020 in fines – enough to pay the police department’s $312,636 budget in 2006 and then some.

That $558,020 represents about $1,136 in fine revenue for each of the town’s 491 residents. That’s nearly five-times the revenue per resident collected by the town with the next highest police-revenue-per-resident numbers.

The Arcade Police Department, which the Georgia Bureau of Investigation regularly reviews and clears of speed-trap allegations, only took in $264 for each of the town’s 1,900 residents.

The Madison County Sheriff’s Office, which collected about $118 per county resident in 2006, came in third in a ranking compiled by the Athens Banner-Herald from data collected by the Georgia Department of Community Affairs.

In the nine years he has patrolled a stretch of U.S. Highway 129 through Pendergrass, police Sgt. Bill Garner has developed a philosophy about giving tickets, getting drunks off the road and busting illegal drivers.

“I don’t care what they’ve done,” Garner said on a recent Friday afternoon on the road. “Being mean to people isn’t going to make my day any easier.”

Profound words indeed from the officer, to read the remainder of the article visit OnlineAthens.com, article by Merritt Melancon.


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