By Linda Looney-Bond
State and local law-enforcement agencies are reminding motorists that Georgia's new "Super Speeder" law will take effect Jan. 1.
The new law will impose a $200 state fine against any driver caught traveling 85 mph, or faster, on any road in Georgia, or 75 mph or faster on any two-lane road, according to Jim Shuler, director of public affairs for the Governor's Office of Highway Safety.
The new state fines will be in addition to any local fines already in effect in the jurisdiction where the speeding offense occurs, Shuler said.
"The most important thing we're trying to do is get people to slow down. Whenever you have a higher-speed crash, injuries are more serious," said Shuler.
"We're going to be out there aggressively enforcing the Super Speeder law," said Lt. Brian Danekes, of the Clayton County Police Department Traffic Unit. "Hopefully people will slow down."
Funds collected under the new law will be used to help fund Georgia's trauma-care system, according to Shuler.
The injuries of "sixty percent of all trauma-care patients are crash-related," Shuler said in a written statement. "Now, for the first time, Super Speeders will help pay for the hospital beds where their crash victims are being treated."
State officials estimate that enforcement of the Super Speeder law will generate approximately $23 million in fiscal year 2010, according to Bert Brantley, spokesman for Gov. Sonny Perdue.
"This is something that we would like not to collect any money on at all," said Brantley.
"These are needless injuries and deaths that are occurring on our roads," he added. "It's the people who are driving at these high speeds that are causing the over-utilization of these emergency rooms. So it really is tying the cause to the effect. It's almost like a user fee, in that you're fining the people that are doing the behavior, that leads to the filled-up emergency rooms."
Failure to pay the Super Speeder fine may result in an additional $50 fine, and the suspension of the offender's driver's license, Shuler said.
For more information about the Super Speeder law, visit www.superspeedergeorgia.org.