Georgia “Super Speeder” Fines On Hold Until Jan1.

Pricier driver’s license reinstatement fees go into effect July 1, but the extra $200 fines for Georgia’s “super speeders” won’t be charged until early next year.

When the new fines, recently approved by the Georgia Legislature, take effect, they won’t be paid with the rest of the traffic ticket. They’ll be collected separately, with notification often coming weeks after the court date for the ticket, when the usual fine still must be paid.

These super-speeder fines will kick in for drivers caught traveling more than 75 mph on two-lane roads or 85 mph on any road. It’s part of an effort to raise money for Georgia’s trauma network, the system of emergency rooms and ambulance services called upon for the worst accident injuries.

State leaders hope a public subsidy will convince hospitals to keep their high-cost emergency operations running and that eventually new services can shorten the time it takes to get rural patients to a trauma center.

Though law enforcement likely will tell motorists about the increased fines, formal notice will come from the state’s Department of Driver Services. The DDS will have to wait for local officials to send it notice of the ticket, which is supposed to be done within 10 days of the ticket being paid or a court conviction, DDS spokeswoman Susan Sports said

Then the department has 30 days to notify the driver of the additional fine by mail, and the driver has 90 days to pay it. If the fine isn’t paid by then, the driver’s license will be suspended, Sports said.

“Please keep your address current,” Sports said.

The new speeding fines and increased fees to reinstate a suspended license are expected to generate about $23 million a year.

The speeding fines won’t be implemented until Jan. 1 because the state must print new traffic tickets, adding a box to indicate whether the ticket was written on a two-lane road or a larger highway, Sports said.

Even though the money won’t start flowing for a while, the state is expected to give the appointed commission in charge of spending it an advance to dole out to hospitals and ambulance services, said Dennis Ashley, who heads up The Medical Center of Central Georgia’s trauma program and is chairman of the state trauma commission.

The commission already has split up about $59 million in state dollars, spreading it among existing hospitals and EMS providers last year. Eventually, supporters would like to see upward of $80 million doled out each year, though so far Gov. Sonny Perdue’s super-speeder program has been the only fundraising effort that legislators have agreed to.

The commission, which met Thursday in Macon, is considering several potential uses for the super-speeder money. The state’s EMS and trauma office, which sets emergency care standards and inspects ambulance services, is “woefully understaffed,” according to a recent study by the American College of Surgeons, Ashley said. Commission members are talking about a statewide transfer system to triage patients across the state, making sure they’re sent to the correct hospital, he said.

In some ways the commission is still in startup mode. Members spent some of last week’s meeting talking about designs for a logo, which would be turned into a decal that can be placed on ambulances for which the commission approves funding. They also talked about hiring a company to build the commission’s Web site.

Ashley said the commission will try to keep costs for this kind of thing to a minimum. He said the commission wants to mark the ambulances it funds, though, since they’re being allocated on a county-by-county basis and need to be tracked.

The commission approved funding for 56 new ambulances last year for rural counties.

Some ambulances in those areas had 350,000 miles on them, Ashley said.

Article by Travis Fain, Macon.com

Georgia Super Speeder Lawyer

Speeding Fines in Southeast Georgia Can Vary By Nearly $1,000

KINGSLAND – Under the Superspeeder law Gov. Sonny Perdue signed Tuesday, motorists ticketed for driving 75 mph or faster on two-lane roads and 85 mph or faster on four-lane roads would have $200 added onto their tickets.

While the super speeder fines will be consistent throughout Georgia, the starting point for the super speeder addition is tied to geography. And in Southeast Georgia, penalties for the same infraction can vary by nearly $1,000, depending on where the ticket is written.

For example, be sure you’re in the city limits of Darien if you get stopped for speeding in McIntosh County.

A ticket for driving 34 mph or faster over the speed limit in Darien will cost a motorist $575. But the same traffic infraction in McIntosh County outside the Darien city limits will cost a motorist $1,355.

McIntosh County Commissioner David Stevens said he could not explain the difference in ticket fees because the commission does not set fines for traffic violations.

The county benefits from the fines, however, because the revenue goes into the county’s general fund.

According to the Georgia Department of Public Safety, local courts set the fines for traffic violations. The state has capped the maximum fine for any speeding violation at $1,000, not counting court costs and other administrative fees.

Camden County Sheriff Tommy Gregory said he didn’t know each municipality has the discretion to set fines for traffic violations.

In Camden County, anyone contesting a speeding ticket must appear in probate court if they are ticketed by a sheriff’s deputy or Georgia State Patrol trooper. Judge Martin Gillette said he and the chief Superior Court judge set the maximum fines.

The fines for traffic violations in Camden County were increased on Jan. 1. In some instances, Gillette said the fines were nearly doubled.

Gillette said he and other judges have discretion to reduce fines, depending on factors such as the motorist’s excuse for speeding and prior driving history.

The highest fine in Camden County is $500 for driving 100 mph or faster. A motorist driving 34 mph or more above the speed limit faces a maximum $372 fine – a $983 difference from McIntosh County for the same violation.

And in Kingsland, the top fine in $362 for driving 34 mph or faster over the limit. A city court employee said the City Council approved the fine schedule.

In Ware County, fines range from $35 for violations between 5 to 9 mph over the limit to $700 for speeds between 24 to 33 mph over the limit. Anyone caught driving faster than 34 mph above the limit faces a mandatory court appearance, officials in the county’s State Court said.

Article by Gordon  Jackson (Jacksonville News)

McIntosh County Speeding Ticket Lawyer

Camden County Speeding Ticket Attorney

I-85 Drivers In Georgia Warned

The lanes — and speeds — on portions of Interstate 85 in north Coweta will soon be dropping.

The Georgia Department of Transportation is shifting southbound traffic on I-85 starting at Exit 51/Sharpsburg-McCollum Road and extending to Exit 47/Bullsboro Drive beginning Feb. 8.

This traffic shift was originally scheduled to take place this weekend, and it’s subject to change again based on weather conditions.

Beginning at Exit 51 on I-85 southbound, the previous three lanes of traffic will be reduced to two travel lanes. This shift will extend southbound to Exit 47. In addition to the traffic shift and lane reduction, the posted speed limit of 60 miles per hour will be reduced to 50 miles per hour — and it will be strictly enforced, according to DOT District 3 Communications Officer Kimberly Larson. Message boards, signs, barricades, barrels and cones will be utilized to alert and channel motorists through the area.

The scheduled completion date for the I-85 widening project through Coweta is Dec. 31. Motorists should expect shoulder and lane closures on a continuing basis and are advised to use extra caution in construction work zones.

“We’ll be out there,” said Lt. John LaChance of the Coweta County Sheriff’s Office. “It’s a very narrow corridor they will be driving in, with no room for error.”

“I would like to remind motorists to slow down in the work zone,” said Larson. “Commuters might be surprised to learn they are 85 percent more likely to be injured driving through a work zone than the workers themselves. Not to mention the sting of a pricey speeding ticket, which can go as high as $2,000.”

The northbound traffic shift in the section from Exit 47 to Exit 51 has already gone into effect.

“So far, we’ve had no major problems with the lane shift,” said LaChance.

LaChance advises motorists who will be entering the Interstate northbound from Bullsboro Drive to use caution and remember that they are required to yield to oncoming traffic. They also need to be aware of the other drivers behind them on the on ramp to avoid being rear-ended.

“Use caution approaching the end of the lane,” said LaChance. “People need to drive with eyes in the back of their head and in front of their head.”

There will be emergency pull-offs and breaks in the concrete barrier wall in the construction zone every 6,000 feet.

“If we do catch a traffic violator, we will wait until the end of the lane shift to pull them over,” said LaChance. “We will not turn our blue lights on until we reach a safe spot.”

“Motorists don’t always understand that when we are in the road, we’re actually trying to help them get where they need to go safer and faster,” Larson continued. “But, the speed limits are as much for their safety as that of our workers.”

The construction that will take place in sections from Exit 47 to Exit 61/Senoia Road in Fulton County is more than halfway complete, according to Larson.

The southbound lane shift next weekend will place motorists on the new lanes in order to complete work on the other travel lanes and shoulders. The DOT says it will not reopen lanes as the work progresses so that motorists don’t have to maneuver multiple lane closures.

“We have been asked if we would remove the barrier walls so that motorists could utilize all lanes,” said Larson. “We felt that this would be a safety concern because motorists would have to maneuver between the lane closures. So, the concrete barriers will remain in place until all lane work is complete.”

The remaining portion of the project stretching into Fulton County is continuing its paving operation and median barrier wall placement. Northbound traffic along this portion should see a traffic shift between milepost 57 to Exit 61 sometime in late February, according to Larson.

A separate portion of the widening work in southern Coweta County that stretches 14 miles from Exit 47 to Meriwether County is approximately 78 percent complete, according to Larson. She reports that all southbound concrete paving is complete in that portion of the project, except for a small section on the ramps of Exit 35 and 41.

“The contractor is continuing to work on raising bridges along this corridor,” said Larson of the southern project. “This is because of the increased height of the new concrete slabs.”

At the Exit 47/Bullsboro Drive interchange, work is about 35 percent complete. “This work is not behind schedule because the bridge work could not occur until the old northbound bridge was removed,” Larson continued. “Motorists will see a lot more progress in this area in the coming months.”

The DOT urges travelers to call 511 for updated information about this or any other construction project on interstates and state routes. Georgia 511 is a free phone service that provides real-time traffic and travel information statewide, such as traffic conditions, incidents, lane closures and delays due to inclement weather. Callers also can transfer to operators to request assistance or report incidents 24 hours a day, seven days a week. More information is available at www.511ga.org .

Article by Elizabeth Richardson from the Newnan Georgia Times Herald

Traffic Violation in Newnan Georgia?

Georgia Teen Drivers – Joshua’s Law

“Joshua’s Law” enacted in  Georgia in 2007, changed the requirements that teen drivers must meet in order to obtain a Class D Georgia driver’s license. The law was named after a youth who tragically lost his life in an accident. Joshua’s parents rallied with legislators in an effort to put stronger driver training laws into effect. The end result has made it mandatory for teens to get more driving experience under their belts before obtaining a license and hopefully will save numerous young lives through its enactment.

The Teenage and Adult Driver Responsibility Act (TADRA), necessitates a graduated driver licensing procedure for Georgia teens between the ages of 15 and 18. There are three separate classifications for teen driver licensing. Joshua’s Law, which went into effect January 1st, 2007, the latest addition to the TADRA, adding an additional educational requirement to the second step.

Georgia’s teen driver’s licensing process starts with Step 1, the Instructional Permit (CP). The Instructional Permit is granted to teens 15 years of age and older who pass a state-administered written exam. Teens who have acquired this permit are required to have a passenger who is at least 21 years old and possesses a valid Class C driver’s license. There are no variations or exceptions to this requirement.

Step 2 is the Intermediate, or Class D, license. Drivers between the ages of 16-18 years of age who have held an Instructional Permit for 12 months and 1 day and passed the state-administered comprehensive on-road driving test are eligible for this license. There are several restrictions on this license, which are:

1) No driving between the hours of 12am and 6am. “No Exceptions.”

2) For the first six months, the only passengers allowed in the vehicle are immediate family members: i.e. siblings, or others who must be 21 years of age or older.

If you are intending to obtain a Class D driver’s license at age sixteen 16, you will have to adhere to the following requirements:

1)You must have completed a driver education course approved by the Department of Driver Services and;

2)You also must have completed a cumulative total of at least forty (40) hours of other supervised driving experience, including at least six 6 hours at night. If you have not completed an approved driver’s education course, you cannot get your Class D driver’s license until you reach age seventeen 17. Thus, now, 40 hours of driving experience, including six 6 hours of driving at night, is always required for a Class D driver’s license.

Any violations or citations incurred during this licensing process will mean a denial or delay of an under 21 driver’s ability to obtain a full Georgia Driver’s License.

Georgia Laws for Drivers under 21 years of age.

Georgia Traffic Ticket Attorney

Speeding Laws For Golf Carts In St. Marys Georgia?

Golf cart traffic in St. Marys, in Camden County Georgia has become an issue as this article* points out the necessity for laws to regulate the operation of these vehicles and ensure pedestrian safety.

New Golf Cart Ordinance Will Follow State Laws

St. Marys public safety committee members are working on amending the municipality’s golf cart ordinance so it can follow state regulations and increase safety.

Councilor Greg Bird, who owns a golf cart store and is the chairman of the committee, said the current golf cart ordinance has two problems.He said the first issue with the city’s ordinance is that it does not reflect the state law. He said the city ordinance identifies golf carts [or motorized carts] and a low speed moving vehicle as being the same. But they are two different vehicles, Bird said. In its new ordinance, the city will distinguish between the two kinds of vehicles, Bird said. The state has the two different sections under its law so it can distinguish between the vehicles. Bird said the police department gave several tickets to golf cart drivers for not having licenses even though the state does not require golf cart drivers to have licenses.
The low speed moving vehicles are larger than golf carts and can go up to 25 mph, unlike a golf cart that only goes up to 20 mph, Bird said. He said the new ordinance will make the distinction between both vehicles, so everyone will be able to follow the state rules.

The state of Georgia separates the two vehicles by requiring that a low speed moving vehicle driver have insurance. But the Georgia does not require a golf cart to have insurance, and it allows for low speed motor vehicles to travel on roads.

However, St. Marys’ current ordinance does require insurance for golf carts because both vehicles are viewed as the same under the law, which can be confusing for police officers and residents.

Bird said the second issue has to do with how the city can get golf carts from one side of the city to the other without breaking any rules. He said the committee members and other city officials, such as City Manager Bill Shanahan, are looking at multi-use paths because golf carts are not legal on sidewalks.

He also said the public safety committee is looking at the possibility of developing the multiuse paths that are used for bikes on Point Peter Road because they could possibly accommodate golf carts. Bird notes these paths are larger than regular sidewalks, which makes them suitable for golf carts. Multiuse paths would allow residents in the Douglas Drive area to drive golf carts to downtown, he added.

“This is not a perfect solution yet, but golf carts are too slow to put on a road where the speed limit is 45 miles an hour or faster,” Bird said. “We don’t want to put golf carts where they would have a big conflict with automobiles. We want to figure out how to move them safely.”

Bird said the next committee meeting will be at 5 p.m., April 10 at City Hall, and residents are invited to come. He said the public safety committee will be looking at the golf cart ordinance, multiuse paths and other issues associated with golf carts during the meeting.

Councilor Gull Weaver also said she had a few problems with the ordinance such as the $250 fee for golf cart drivers who are caught driving the vehicles on sidewalks. She said the fee does not seem fair for a first offense.

“There are a lot of things we are going to change, and [we will] figure out the best way to do it,” she said. “We want to treat them [golf carts and low speed moving vehicle] as vehicles, and you have to have licensed drivers, and kids can’t drive them all over the place because it’s not responsible.”

City Manager Bill Shanahan said it is important to amend the ordinance so everyone can understand the law and protect the residents. But he said he does not want the ordinance to make it difficult for residents to use golf carts. Shanahan also said drivers have to be responsible when driving in the city and watch for golf carts.

“The other day I was driving in a golf cart and I had a car run a stop sign and come in front of me, and I hit my brakes,” he said. “If I didn’t hit my brakes the car would have hit me. It works both ways. We want our citizens to be safe when driving golf carts.”

Councilor Deborah Hase said the golf carts are a part of the community. She said St. Marys needs to remain a walking and golf cart community because it helps maintain the integrity of the city.

She said it is good to be able travel in the city by “foot, bike or golf cart.” She said she supports expanding sidewalks to accommodate golf carts and to get them off the streets if possible.

“If we can make [sidewalks] bike-path/golf cart-path [friendly] that would help because it would save people’s gas, and it would help in a lot of ways,” she said.

*By Greg Jones, The Camden County Tribune & Georgian Newspaper

Speeding Ticket in St. Marys, Georgia?