Georgia bills target 'super speeder' trucks, racing

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Vehicles that fly by with little or no regard for others on the road have always been high on the annoyance scale for truckers and other drivers.

A six-year-old law in Georgia addresses the safety issue with increased maximum speeding penalties. Specifically, $200 fines are tacked onto traffic tickets for “super speeders.” Penalties can be applied to motorists caught driving more than 85 mph on interstates and four-lane roads, or more than 75 mph on two-lane roads.

Failure to pay within 120 days of official notice results in license suspension or loss of driving privileges in the state.

Supporters say the penalties help keep drivers mindful of their speeds. In return, it helps cut down on wrecks.

Opponents say the law is more about raising money than it is punishing super speeders.

One bill in the House Motor Vehicles Committee would expand the speeding rule to include drivers of commercial motor vehicles.

Sponsored by Rep. Ron Stephens, R-Savannah, HB732 would apply the same fine for truck drivers found exceeding the posted speed limit by at least 10 mph.

The legislative effort follows a fatal wreck last spring on Interstate 16 near Savannah when a tractor-trailer struck a SUVs carrying five Georgia Southern University nursing students. According to reports, the truck’s driver did not apply the brakes or attempt to avoid the vehicles.

Another bill would get tough with motorists caught racing on public roads and streets, or driving “in a circular or zigzag course.”

Georgia law now authorizes offenders to face misdemeanor charges. The classification subjects violators to as much as one year behind bars and a maximum $1,000 fine.

HB707 would increase the penalty to a felony. The designation could result in jail time ranging from one year to five years and/or fines between $1,000 and $5,000.

The bill from Rep. Keisha Waites, D-Atlanta, awaits assignment to committee.

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

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