Thursday, December 31, 2009
Georgia's Super Speeder Law
My wife was returning from Atlanta a couple months ago. As she was making her way through all the construction going on in the Newnan area she looked in her rear view mirror and saw the dreaded blue lights flashing. The State Patrolman stated that she was going well over the posted speed limit for a construction zone. My wife admitted that she had failed to slow to the posted limit but she was simply going with the flow of traffic. If was 9:00 PM on a Sunday night and there were no construction crews at work. She called me on the phone very upset that she had been given a $400.00 fine. (We are keeping score, I’m ahead of her 8 to 1). I stated that the enforcement of that law at that time wasn't about protecting anyone, there was no one working at 9:00 pm, it was more about meeting a quota or raising revenue for the state of Georgia.
Starting tomorrow, January 1st, Georgia will enact a law unlike any other in the country. It’s called the "Super Speeder Law." The law states that someone going 75 miles per hour on a two lane road will be fined an extra $200 on top of the original fine. If the driver is caught going 85 miles per hour on the interstate he will be fined an extra $200 dollars also. "Super Speeders"? I think it’s quite a stretch to claim someone going 75 miles per hour is a "Super Speeder".
Our governor, Sonny Perdue, says that the new law is an “attempt to slow high-speed drivers and reduce high-speed crashes and trauma injuries.” Yea, right! Come on Gov, admit the real reason for such a law. Tell the residents of Georgia that your new law is going to raise over $23 million in 2010!
Who can argue with a law that saves lives but that may be difficult to prove? National Motor Vehicle Crash Causation Survey has done research that suggests that traveling at high rates of speed accounted for only 5% of “pre-crash events”. A similar study from the state of Virginia concluded that speeding only caused 2% of accidents.
Wouldn’t we save more lives and prevent more accidents if we did more to discourage cell phone use? I nearly rear-ended an elderly gentlemen on the interstate last week. I think he was going about 25 mph in a 65 mph zone. I slowed to see what was the problem and observed that he was engrossed in a cell phone conversation and didn’t realize how slow he was going. Very dangerous!!
We know the “Super Speeder Law” is more about raising money through a type of tax that will be unfairly applied to the poorer segment of our society than it is about saving lives. What we don’t know is where will all that money go?
Georgia passed a state lottery years ago to improve education in the state. Last time I checked Georgia ranked 49th out of 50 in public high school graduation rate. So, where is all the money going? If it’s going to education than it’s quite obvious that increasing funds has no correlation with improving education. Saying it goes to education is a really good sell to the residents of Georgia. But, as we all know, where there are large amounts of available monies there usually follows unprecedented corruption.
Go ahead a tax us, Governor. But please call it what it is and tell us where the money is going.