Catching Up With Speed
Two states are adjusting the way they deal with lead-footed drivers.
Georgia State University students made national headlines and Google Video glory earlier this year with "55: A Meditation on the Speed Limit around the Perimeter." The students filmed a four-car, mid- morning excursion around Atlanta to demonstrate that the swift flow of traffic makes it unsafe to stay within the speed limit.
Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue, however, is unconvinced and is pushing "Super Speeder" legislation that would add an additional $200 fine for speeders who hit 85 mph or more on highways or 75 mph on two-lane roads. "The governor said pretty plainly that speeding is an epidemic in Georgia," says Bret Brantley, the governor's press secretary. "For the average speed in the state to be 20 miles per hour over the speed limit is completely out of control." The estimated $25 million to $30 million that would be generated from the measure would be used to help fund the state's hospital trauma centers, which end up caring for accident victims. So far, the legislation has passed in the Senate.
Michigan also is modifying its approach to policing speed. Faced with an expected $3.1 million budget deficit, the Michigan State Police Department is cutting its fuel costs by having troopers reduce the mileage they put on their patrol cars. Rather than ride the highways, troopers are spending more time on stationary activities, such as running radar, and patrolling only as they make their way back to the post. "We're trying," says spokeswoman Shanon Akans, "to make these cuts in a way that will have the least impact on public safety."