Bill targeting truck speeds in Georgia put to rest

| 4/15/2004

An effort to slow large trucks down on most highways in Georgia has died.

The proposal, sponsored by Sen. David Adelman, D-Atlanta, sought to restrict big rigs to 55 mph on all highways. Under current state law, all vehicles are permitted to travel 70 mph on rural interstates, 65 mph outside urban areas and 55 mph within urban areas, such as Atlanta.

SB462 had been forwarded to the Senate Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee earlier this year but failed to pass out of the committee before the session ended last week, effectively killing the bill for the year.

According to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Georgia resident Steve Owings persuaded Adelman to introduce the bill after a Dec. 1, 2002, crash with a semi that killed his son.

Callum Owings’ vehicle was rear-ended by a tractor-trailer as the vehicles approached slowed interstate traffic, the newspaper reported. Two months later, Callum’s parents, Steve and Susan Owings, were driving in a snowstorm and were startled that trucks would be passing them on the interstate.

“It was an instance of ‘Can you believe this? Something has to be done,’” Steve Owings said.

A resolution that called for assembling a study commission to examine the split-speed bill and see whether there were any possible compromises – such as designated times when tractor-trailers have to slow down or special lanes where trucks can drive the same speed as other vehicles – has also died.

That bill, SR669, also introduced by Adelman, passed the Senate but failed to gain final approval from the House before lawmakers adjourned.