To those who feel the need to speed: Be warned. For the fastest of fast drivers, it’s about to get really expensive.
Going 85 miles per hour or more on most Georgia roads -- including interstates -- costs a speeder an additional $200, with a new "super-speeder" law that took effect today. On two-lane roads, meaning one lane each way, the extra fine kicks in at 75 mph.
That’s on top of whatever ticket the speeder gets for going over the speed limit.
“It’s a lifesaving law,” said Bob Dallas, director of the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, noting that speeding makes death or severe injury much more likely when an accident happens.
The original speeding ticket may not tell the offender about the additional state fine, Dallas said. First, the driver will get the local ticket as usual. Then, the state will send a letter notifying the speeder of the $200 fine, which must be paid within 90 days of the letter's date.
“The goal here is to prevent the worst of the worst speeding in the state of Georgia,” Dallas said. “At some point we just have to put an end to the super-speeders and using our roadways as a racetrack. And this is what this law is designed to do.”
Drivers who don’t pay will have their licenses suspended.
The original ticket is no joke either. Local fines -- which range depending on where tickets are issued and the driver's speed -- are commonly well over $100.
In McIntosh County on Georgia's coast, going 34 mph over the speed limit will cost you $1,355, according to the county court clerk’s office. That’s before the new state fine.
At least one local official, Sheriff J. Tyson Stephens of Emanuel County, has called the $200 state fine little more than a tax that will impose an out-of-kilter burden on the working poor.
Dallas said he knew of no other state with a similar law, though some states had tried variations, such as higher fines on problem roads.
The law intended money collected from the fines to fund trauma services, but where it's actually spent will be up to the state Legislature.