At least that is what state officials and trauma care advocates seem to think.
According to a recent article in the Atlanta Journal Constitution, state officials are disappointed that the new “super speeder” law has not been the cash cow they hoped it would be.
The super speeder law went into effect January 1, 2010. Under the law, anyone ticketed for driving 75 mph or more on a two lane road or 85 mph or faster anywhere in Georgia pays an additional $200 super speeder fine on top of existing fines. There are also additional fees for license reinstatements.
Supporters of the legislation predicted the new law would result in an additional $25-30 million in revenue for the state. The bulk of the revenue is intended to fund the state’s trauma care system.
Dr. Dennis Ashley, chairman of Georgia’s Trauma Care Network Commission, complained to the AJC that “The money hasn’t come in at the level we thought it would.”
“Thought” it would or “hoped” it would?
So far, the super speeder law has only generated about $2 million in income. Ashley and other trauma care professionals are worried that the state legislature will cut their funding. You would think that people who are all too aware of the carnage caused by high speed accidents would be absolutely thrilled that fewer people were driving at excessive speeds, but, instead of publicly celebrating the success of the law, they choose to go on record lamenting the lack of revenue.
Is this law about making the roads safer or is it about generating income?
Apparently it’s about the money.
How ironic that the compliance with the law is not actually the intended effect. The state predicted there would be over 160,000 super speeder tickets issued annually. At the current rate, there will be only 34,000 this year.
That means people are actually obeying the law, driving more slowly and having fewer accidents which would necessitate trauma care.
That is good news. At least, it should be considered good news.
It is beyond bizarre to think that state officials and trauma care advocates would actually lament the fact that fewer people were getting tickets.
However, times are tough and money is tight. The last thing the state needs right now is for all of us to suddenly become law-abiding motorists.
How are they going to fund the state’s 15 trauma hospitals if we all stop driving like bats out of hell? Sure, they could cut expenses or work to pass meaningful health care reform, but it would be easier if everyone just got on the gas and forked over the extra $200.
Perhaps state officials and trauma care advocates need to change their marketing plan. Instead of warning people about the super speeder fines, they need to keep that information to themselves.
Or maybe they need a theme song. A song that makes people want to drive fast and furious. Jerry Reed’s Eastbound and Down would be perfect. Not only does it advocate high speed driving, it also encourages a scofflaw attitude which is just what we need to fill state coffers: “Keep your foot hard on the pedal. Son, never mind them brakes. Let it all hang out ‘cause we got a run to make.”
If that doesn’t get people to put the hammer down, I don’t know what will.
In a perfect world, officials would not make revenue dependent on the commission of a crime. Ideally, officials would be satisfied that the law is encouraging people to drive more safely.
But there is no money to be had in that and, for our lawmakers, that is far from ideal.
Kristi Reed is a reporter for the Barrow Journal. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It's legal plunder or highway robbery, pure and simple. The speed cops are akin to the old federal revenuers who chased moonshiners through the woods to break up their stills and deprive them of a means of making a living, but mostly because the feds couldn't tax the 'shine.'But they could put them in prison for a long time at the taxpayer's expense. As to the fines for speeding, what crime has been committed if no one has been injured or their property damaged? Now, before someone fires back that, "it could cause accidents that might take someone's life or injure them permanently." Well I might agree with you on that, however; my information tells me that slow drivers are causing more accidents than fast drivers, especially those who want to drive in the fast lanes on the expressways. But all of that aside, we are now living in a police state that is becoming more and more violent and speeding tickets are just another way of expanding it. Law enforcement people constitute the "Standing armies" that the founding fathers of our Republic feared. Now to make a long story short: It's the Constitution stupid! Don't violate it because you swore an oath to uphold, preserve, protect and defend it against all enemies, foreign and domestic (that is our government). Thank you for your time.