Taxi Driver Gets Traffic Ticket In Georgia For Honking Horn

Metro Atlanta taxi driver Andrew Pless is ready to put his foot down — not on his brake pedal, but on a law that is unknown to most, which penalizes drivers for blowing their horns on a highway.

“I just did beep, beep,” said Pless. Pless said he received a traffic citation for blowing his horn on Highway 139 in Riverdale.“I don’t think I should be paying $140 for improper horn use, what they call it,” said Pless. Pless said it all started at a traffic light. He said the car ahead of him didn’t move when the light turned green.

“I waited a few seconds, about 8 to 12 seconds, and then I was like what’s up, you know, and I did like this beep beep,” Pless explained.

Then he said he was pulled over by police.“I asked him why they stopped me and he said ’cause I blew my horn back there…and I looked at him like what,” said Pless. Most people at City Hall hadn’t heard of such a law, and neither did residents who talked to Channel 2.“I don’t think it is right for getting a ticket,” said Charles Brown.“I’ve blown my horn before. I never got a ticket,” said Denise Altman.

After conducting research, the assistant police chief told Channel 2 that the officer used Georgia traffic code 40-8-70 to cite the taxi driver.The law states a driver of a motor vehicle shall give audible warning with his or her horn but shall not otherwise use such horn when upon a highway. Since Pless was on Highway 139, he was cited.

Pless said he disagrees with the law and wonders how he was supposed to get the driver’s attention otherwise.“She was slow pulling off at the light, and I just went beep beep,” he said. Pless said he will challenge the ticket.


New DUI Laws Top List of July 1 Changes

Drivers on Georgia roads will want to take note of changes in laws that make getting certain traffic citations become a felony charge after July 1.

According to Dublin Police Sgt. James Champion, the laws put more “teeth” into the consequences of some traffic violations.

“This is a major change to the DUI law,” said Champion. “The first and second DUIs are misdemeanors but on the third DUI it becomes a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature and on the fourth DUI it is a felony with a fine of up to $2,000 and jail time.”

House Bill 336 also has another clause that will make driving records for DUIs count as far back as 10 years instead of five. This means those who have DUIs older than five years that under the current law would not have been counted, will find themselves with a driving record again.

Champion said the seriousness of DUI becomes more severe if the driver has a child under the age of 14 in the vehicle.

“That’s a separate DUI charge,” he said, explaining that there’s a separate charge for every child in the car under the age of 14 and the law will not allow the tickets to count as one. For example, a driver with three children under the age of 14 in the vehicle could face a felony DUI charge punishable by fines and jail time as well as a permanent record.

Senate Bill 55 leaves no room for a person to drive with an open container of alcohol in the vehicle. The only exception to this law is wine. Champion said if a bottle of wine was opened at a restaurant it must be resealed by the restaurant and the dated receipt attached to it in order to transport it home. This does not apply to beer or liquor.

“If you do not meet those requirements then you will be charged with open container,” he said.

Driving without a license will be costly under any circumstances.

“If you get caught driving without a license normally the fine was $115. Now it’s over $600,” he said.

A citation for driving without a license under the new law requires the person to be fingerprinted and that information kept by the National Criminal Information Center. He said the only exception is if a person is driving on an expired license. In that case the driver will be cited and required to get the license renewed.

Leaving the scene of an accident is never a good idea, especially since the new laws will add stiffer charges to those who do.

“They must do everything possible to get aid if somebody is hurt,” said Champion of those who are involved in an accident. “If they leave the scene and a person dies they can be charged with vehicular homicide which has a prison sentence of no less than three years and no more than 15 years.”

He said even if a driver may think a person is not injured he is obligated to stop and make sure.

“How do you know if somebody is hurt unless you get out and check,” he said.

Don’t even think of telling a judge an appearance wasn’t made in court because there was no notice of a court date.

“When you get that traffic citation that is your service notice,” said Champion, adding all City of Dublin tickets have a date the ticket has to be paid or the person has to appear in court.

“If you fail to take care of that ticket on or before the court date your license will be suspended, and when you get caught driving on a suspended license you’ll be cited for driving with a suspended license,” he said.

Champion said the new laws leave no room for drivers to play around when it comes to not showing up in court.

“You don’t need any note. You know your license could be suspended,” he said, adding the laws are “putting some teeth back into” the consequences for violators.

Story by Stephanie Miller

Dublin Courier Herald Online

Georgia DUI Laws

Georgia Police Cracking Down On Seat Belt Use

ALBANY,GA. — Summer 2008 marks the fifth consecutive year that waves of law enforcement patrols in 159 Georgia counties will be cracking down on the dangerous, aggressive, and high-speed drivers who place thousands of innocent lives in peril on Georgia highways every summer. Let’s face it. In Georgia, it’s not the humidity bothering habitual speeders this summer, it’s the H.E.A.T.!

H.E.A.T. stands for “Highway Enforcement of Aggressive Traffic.” The 100 Days of Summer H.E.A.T. campaign is a multi-jurisdictional highway safety enforcement strategy designed to reduce high-fatality crash-counts during the potentially deadly summer holiday driving period from Memorial Day through the Fourth of July and Labor Day holidays.

This year, H.E.A.T. enforcement begins Monday, May 19th, on the same day as Georgia’s statewide Click It Or Ticket safety belt enforcement initiative.  Law enforcement agencies across the state are once again rolling-out a full-scale, high-profile enforcement mobilization to crackdown on the worst speed offenders.

The summer-long enforcement campaign is designed to make those high-risk drivers feel the H.E.A.T. on their checkbooks, license points and insurance rates.  H.E.A.T. means citations for speeding and aggressive driving.. Tickets for failing to buckle-up their kids or wear safety belts.. And jail time for drunk and drugged driving.  Why?  Because our highway safety data shows speed, impaired driving and unrestrained driving are still the top three causes of fatality crashes, not just during the summer holidays, but throughout the year.

“So in 2008, the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety (GOHS) will continue to coordinate one of the longest, toughest, and most ambitious Summer H.E.A.T. highway safety initiatives ever launched in this state,” said GOHS Director Bob Dallas.  “Waves of law enforcement patrols including police, sheriff’s deputies, State Troopers and State Motor Carrier Compliance officers will help us crack-down on the high-speed motorists, the impaired motorists, and the unbuckled motorists who make highway travel a danger for the safe drivers across Georgia.”

“Our message to Georgia’s high-risk drivers is clear,” said GOHS Director Dallas. “Safety belt, DUI, and speed law violations will not be tolerated.  So once again it’s time to buckle-up, secure the kids in their safety seats, drive sober, and obey the speed limits during the long summer holiday driving period. Let’s make them safe and keep them safe.”

Georgia’s Highway Safety Director says there’s another common sense advantage to slowing down this summer, and that’s saving money.  With holiday gas prices predicted to spike around $4.00 for a gallon of unleaded, motorists should regard speed as a costly formula for both higher fines and fuel costs.

“Besides getting you a ticket, speeding, along with jack-rabbit-starts and sudden-stops wastes gas,” said Director Dallas.  “Your car’s fuel efficiency begins to rapidly decrease at speeds over sixty mph.  A lead-foot can lower your gas mileage by 5-percent around town and as much as 33-percent at highway speeds.”  “So as a rule of thumb, every five miles-an-hour you drive over sixty is like paying an additional twenty cents-a-gallon at the pump!  For high-risk drivers who don’t seem to care if speed is a killer on our roads, maybe now it matters if it’s murder on their wallets,” said Dallas.  “Driving at the speed limit saves gas.  We already know it saves lives.  Why not do both this summer?”

Speeding is risky business behind the wheel. Today the Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety issued this statewide warning to high-risk drivers:  “The countdown is done and the 100 Days of Summer H.E.A.T. have officially begun.  Somewhere in Georgia there’s an officer with a ticket book waiting for speed law breakers during The 100 Days of Summer H.E.A.T.

Story from WFXL Fox 31, Georgia

Georgia Traffic Violations Lawyer

Georgia Department Of Transportion To Drivers: When You See Roadside Work, Slow Down!

If Georgia Department of Transportation employees could say one thing to the drivers who fly past their roadside work zones, it would be: “Slow down —it won’t kill you.”

But, they’d add, you could get hurt.

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 GDOT workers themselves are well aware of the dangers of the road. More than 50 have lost their lives over the past 30-plus years, while making roadway improvements.

It’s an irony that can grate on you, says Buford native Josh Cofer, 30. The project manager has most recently been working at the massive interchange of I-85 and Ga. 316, which is 80 percent complete. The next big piece to open before year’s end will be the northbound collector distributor system, a mirror of the southbound lanes that opened in October.

“They don’t understand when we’re in the road, we’re trying to help them get where they need to go safer, and faster,” Cofer said. “The [speed limits] are as much for their safety as ours.”

Before spring and summer travel adds even more vehicles to Georgia’s busy roadways, the GDOT is trying to increase public awareness of why work zones require slower traffic.

Even though they’ve witnessed too often how little patience many drivers have.

Workers have been pelted with garbage from passing cars from drivers annoyed by lane closures or traffic tie-ups, said GDOT spokeswoman Teri Pope.

Seeders — oblivious that humans are working inches away, whether they can see them or not — have posed the biggest danger.

In 2003, the GDOT’s Randy Reece was killed instantly, Pope said, by a flatbed truck that didn’t slow down in a work zone on State Route 13 near Buford.

A contractor was maimed not long ago in another work zone, while he was just standing there. A lugnut flew off a passing truck with such force, it knocked the man’s ear clear off his head. (It couldn’t be reattached, Pope said, because it couldn’t be found.)

Another worker was injured by a speeding tractor trailer when a tire flew off and hit him so hard, it broke his leg.

“Work zones are our office,” Pope said. “We only do paperwork inside when it’s raining, and we can’t be out here. We’re out here most days, working with traffic whizzing by at 60, 70 and 80 miles per hour.”

Since drivers routinely ignore the slower speed limits posted at work zones, Pope said, fines are doubled for anyone caught speeding. The presence of blue lights — signaling police are handing out tickets, or just patrolling the area — seems to be the one thing that slows folks down.

Law enforcement officers were out in force on Wednesday morning on GA 316, just past the point where it branches off from I-85, handing out expensive reminders that contrary to driver habits, the speed limit in this busy work zone is 45 mph.

Article- Eileen Drennan, Atlanta Journal Constituion

Did you get a traffic ticket on GA 316?

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, article by Merritt Melancon.


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