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Tickets could fund trauma care
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Forsyth County News

Gov. Sonny Perdue is looking to put the brakes on Georgians with a need for speed.

If the governor's so-called "super speeder" legislation is passed, motorists traveling faster than 85 mph on any road or more than 75 mph on a two-lane road would pay a $200 fine on top of the cost of the ticket.

Perdue said the fines could generate about $23 million per year to improve the state's trauma care network, an area for which legislators have struggled to find funding.

Drivers cited for traveling 86 mph or faster in Forsyth County currently face a fine of at least $110. With the new bill, that would nearly triple, an increase Forsyth Sheriff Ted Paxton said could help deter speeders.

"Certainly that's what we use now as a deterrent," Paxton said. "So if the governor's proposal is to increase the punishment, then I could only anticipate that it would more than likely have a positive impact."

Paxton said the majority of wrecks in the county, including those caused by speeders, occur on state highways like 369 and 20, not Ga. 400.

District 9 state Rep. Amos Amerson said he received similar information from the head of the Georgia State Patrol, indicating the majority of wrecks are on two-lane highways.

Amerson, a Republican from Dahlonega, said he likely would vote for the measure, but doesn't "think it's going to curb those people that drive fast for the thrill of it."

"I see very few people who are exceeding the flow of traffic by a great amount," he said. "The ones that worry me the most are the ones that weave in and out of traffic. But I'll vote for it, because every little penny will help."

Forsyth County resident Mike Coulon admits he typically drives about 10 miles over the speed limit. Despite his speedy ways, Coulon said the bill doesn't sound that bad.

"It's fair enough. You probably don't really need to be going over 85 in a 55," he said. "I don't like when people pass me really hauling like that."

But Coulon thinks speeders' counterparts should also be fined.

"They ought to triple the fine for people who drive too slow," he added. "Those are the people that really cause the problems for everyone else ... and people who drive slow in the fast lane."

Coulon said he hasn't racked up many tickets, adding that luck may be on his side. It's further proof of his theory that "everybody speeds, it's just a matter of who gets caught."

"Maybe if they get caught, they might think twice about [the super speeder fines]," he said. "But I think it's more of a revenue generator than a safety thing."

Speeding tickets have never been a worry for Margie Reeves of Forsyth County. While Reeves wouldn't likely be affected by the legislation, the senior citizen said she's against it because she believes it targets young drivers.

"They've got places to go," she said. "It's not that they mean to, it's just that we live in a fast-paced world and everybody is five minutes behind. So Sonny [Perdue] needs to mind his own business and do other things.

"When young people cut in front of me, I just talk it up as they've got places to go and I've got more time than I've got money. So I'll just take my time and let them pass."

In addition to speeding, the legislation also adds fees for license reinstatements for second and third offenses, as well as other negligent behavior such as driving under the influence of alcohol.

If passed, the law would take effect Jan. 1.