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Governor proposes tougher speeding fines

By Jason A. Smith

jsmith@henryherald.com

Gov. Sonny Perdue wants to reduce the number of automobile accidents in Georgia by slapping steeper fines on the state's fastest drivers.

House Bill 160, the so-called "super speeder" legislation, was introduced Tuesday to members of the General Assembly.

Under the plan, an additional $200 fine would be imposed for driving faster than 85 mph anywhere in the state, and for driving 75 mph or more on a two-lane road. The legislation would also increase driver's license reinstatement fees for motorists whose licenses are suspended after committing a second and third offense.

In a written statement issued by the governor's office Tuesday, Perdue said the measure would fill two crucial needs in Georgia.

"Traffic accidents exact an enormous toll on our state," Perdue said. "This legislation will save lives by discouraging reckless behavior, and by providing critical additional funds for trauma care."

According to the statement, traffic accidents on Georgia's roadways caused more than 1,600 fatalities in 2007, and the overall cost of accidents in Georgia totals $7.8 billion a year.

Perdue spokesman Chris Schrimpf said the legislation would bring in approximately $23 million a year, which would be spent on improving Georgia's trauma care network. He said working to pass the bill is a worthwhile endeavor.

"The governor believes this is a good policy," said Schrimpf. "He is committed to increasing the state's level of trauma care, and decreasing the number of trauma accidents."

The legislation was introduced by Rep. Jim Cole (R-Forsyth), Perdue's senior floor leader in the state House.

In the statement from Perdue's office, Cole said the bill is "extremely important" to the state as a whole, and to him personally.

"We must do all we can to help make our roads and highways as safe as possible," said Cole. "The bottom line is this: Super Speeder will both directly and indirectly save the lives of Georgians."