Georgia drivers, speeders eyed to fund trauma care

| 12/28/2007

A leading state lawmaker in Georgia wants truck drivers and motorists to pay a little extra to help fund a statewide trauma network. The state’s worst speeders also would be tapped to chip in for the fund.

House Speaker Glenn Richardson, R-Hiram, announced a plan to increase vehicle registrations by $10 to foot the cost for trauma care in the state. Richardson said he also supports Gov. Sonny Perdue’s plan to charge special fines against people caught driving excessively over the speed limit, The Associated Press reported.

Steep fines would be slapped on “super speeders,” who are caught driving faster than 85 mph on interstates.

The fees and fines are projected to raise $85 million a year for the state’s 15 trauma centers. The bulk of the income would come from fees while the fines would account for about $8 million to $10 million.

Supporters say additional revenue is needed for the trauma network because the state’s death rate from traumatic injury is 20 times the national average.

Others say the projected revenue from the fees and fines won’t be enough to help the existing hospitals in the network. They suggest dedicated taxes on vehicle insurance premiums or cell phone bills.

While Perdue is in favor of boosting fines for speeding, administration officials say he hasn’t made any decision yet on trauma funding.

The fees and fines legislation can be considered during the regular session that begins Jan. 14, 2008.

To view other legislative activities of interest for Georgia, click here.

– By Keith Goble, state legislative editor