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Richmond County deputies write more speeding tickets in 2013

Saturday, July 13, 2013 6:00 PM
Last updated Sunday, July 14, 2013 2:27 PM
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Halfway through 2013, speeding citations are up 41 percent in Richmond County.

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Richmond County sheriff's Deputy Jason Singletary uses a Pro Laser III gun to check motorists' speed on Jackson Road.  JON-MICHAEL SULLIVAN/STAFF
JON-MICHAEL SULLIVAN/STAFF
Richmond County sheriff's Deputy Jason Singletary uses a Pro Laser III gun to check motorists' speed on Jackson Road.

Sheriff’s Lt. Ramone Lam­kin, who supervises the road patrol, said the increase is a result of a renewed focus on safety.

“Tickets are a necessary evil,” said Lamkin, a former Georgia state trooper brought in by Sheriff Richard Roundtree. “We do try to use officer discretion. We say to warn them when you can.”

The crackdown follows a deadly year on Augusta highways. Richmond County recorded 42 traffic and pedestrian fatalities in 2012. The number alarmed local law enforcement and the Gover­nor’s Office of Highway Safety, which later sought to reduce fatalities through Operation Thunder.

Roundtree issued three goals to the traffic division: lower the number of deaths, crashes and injuries.

This year the county has seen 10 traffic fatalities.

“Every time we see a trend, we try to combat it,” Lamkin said.

Previously the traffic division had two officers focused on traffic enforcement, but under the new plan, the sheriff used existing personnel to increase that number.

Through May, deputies had issued 6,144 citations for speeding, almost 2,000 more than the same period in 2012.

“I wish we didn’t have to write (speeding) tickets,” Lamkin said.

The 41 percent increase is not a result of Operation Thunder, police said. Only 58 citations – less than 1 percent of the year’s total – came from that operation.

The Georgia State Patrol has issued 784 speeding citations in Richmond County this year, down from 985 in the period last year. Spokes­man Gordy Wright said troopers across the state are spending more time assisting law enforcement with wrecks.

Lamkin said the sheriff’s office is looking at data to pinpoint where the primary problems are and what issues are causing crashes.

The most problematic areas are Bobby Jones Ex­press­­way, Deans Bridge Road and Mike Padgett High­way, he said.

Speeding, failure to yield, cellphone use, impairment and following too closely are most often contributing factors, but some issues are easier to crack down on.

Charges for texting while driving require a deputy to observe the behavior before a ticket can be issued. Though police occasionally receive tips about texters, they still have to locate the vehicle and observe the behavior.

Following too closely, which tops the list of crash factors, causes about 42 percent of crashes and accounted for 230 of the citations issued through May.

Lamkin said most drivers don’t realize that if they strike someone from behind, they face that charge.

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whozit
147
Points
whozit 07/13/13 - 07:28 pm
7
2
Well now

Trying to pay for that raise I guess. They need more focus on running red lights, especially the one at Gordon Highway and North Leg.

AutumnLeaves
7143
Points
AutumnLeaves 07/13/13 - 07:43 pm
4
2
I can drive 40 miles and

I can drive 40 miles and still run into problems with the people driving like idiots on Bobby Jones between Peach Orchard Road and Gordon Hwy, most of them coming onto Bobby Jones from Windsor Spring Road or Peach Orchard Road. See a lot of accidents right at the Deans Bridge Road exit which is about halfway between them.

Little Lamb
45393
Points
Little Lamb 07/13/13 - 09:01 pm
12
1
Deans Bridge - what do you expect?

The DOT took a perfectly-functional cloverleaf with zero traffic lights and turned it into a stretch with four new traffic lights. You will see more accidents there when they finish the "improvements."

Little Lamb
45393
Points
Little Lamb 07/13/13 - 09:03 pm
9
2
Riverwalk

From the story:

Previously the traffic division had two officers focused on traffic enforcement, but under the new plan, the sheriff used existing personnel to increase that number.

Why doesn't the sheriff use this same plan to increase the number of people on downtown patrol instead of mindlessly letting Fred (What, me worry?) Russell try to get a new tax on downtown property owners for Riverwatch patrol?

dichotomy
32171
Points
dichotomy 07/13/13 - 09:14 pm
13
5
I'd be more impressed if they

I'd be more impressed if they jailed 41% more punks and thugs. I guess there ain't enough money in that to pay Roundtree's pay raise.

storiesihaveread
358
Points
storiesihaveread 07/13/13 - 09:46 pm
6
4
I-20 btween 7:30

and 8:30 AM you can catch about 50 with no problem. Have one car sitting right past the clover leave at I-20 and Bobby Jones. Have your other patrol cars sitting around that blind curve say about 12 cars waiting. Nail them like sitting ducks in a pond. Catch speeders, following to close and texters. Use the new Dodge cars with the low profile lights. Harder to see from a distance use the rader that can record a speed 3/4 of a mile away.

oldredneckman96
5067
Points
oldredneckman96 07/13/13 - 09:47 pm
9
4
Speeding?
Unpublished

The numbers will tell you half of all accidents are from driving under the influence, booze or other. That means half of all traffic citations should be for DUI. Numbers say 25% do not have a license or insurance. Again, the citations should match. Now all that is left are the drunks and mental defects on mopeds, bicycles and golf carts, get them off the road and we will be able to drive licensed, insured, DOT approved for the road, vehicles at a speed the road was intended to have. Then the Deputies can go arrest the thugs who prey on those foolish enough to wander down town or out to the River Walk.

mosovich
768
Points
mosovich 07/13/13 - 10:12 pm
5
5
Up 41%???

They should be up 400%... People drive like they have no brains around here..

gargoyle
16264
Points
gargoyle 07/13/13 - 11:16 pm
8
0
If Following too closely tops

If Following too closely tops the list of crash factors why only 230 citations .

albertoli
179
Points
albertoli 07/13/13 - 11:18 pm
6
9
Speed limit is a LAW

Speed limits are laws. They are determined by traffic conditions. If you speed you are breaking the law and making it difficult and dangerous for law abiding drivers to maneuver between lanes and enter and exit roadways. You intimidate young drivers and the elderly. Therefore you are a punk and a thug with a 4000 pound weapon. Anyone who speeds is also ignorant. Do the math. You gain how many seconds in a 45 mph zone by going 55 for 5 miles? 45 in a 35?
Twice the speed limit should lose their license for being stupid behind a 4000 pound machine. It is also disrespectful of the citizenry where someone is speeding.

albertoli
179
Points
albertoli 07/13/13 - 11:18 pm
4
8
Speed limit is a LAW

Speed limits are laws. They are determined by traffic conditions. If you speed you are breaking the law and making it difficult and dangerous for law abiding drivers to maneuver between lanes and enter and exit roadways. You intimidate young drivers and the elderly. Therefore you are a punk and a thug with a 4000 pound weapon. Anyone who speeds is also ignorant. Do the math. You gain how many seconds in a 45 mph zone by going 55 for 5 miles? 45 in a 35?
Twice the speed limit should lose their license for being stupid behind a 4000 pound machine. It is also disrespectful of the citizenry where someone is speeding.

Sweet son
10114
Points
Sweet son 07/13/13 - 11:59 pm
8
2
Why does Lamkin keep saying only two officers were assigned

to traffic enforcement? Before he was a Roundtree shoo in Sheriff Strength had a traffic division that included at least 6 motorcycles and who knows how many traffic patrol cars. He is trying to make himself look good by saying that he and Tree established a traffic unit which was already in place!

itsanotherday1
42275
Points
itsanotherday1 07/14/13 - 02:05 am
8
1
Dittos Gargoyle

Following to closely is 42%, but you can't observe that sitting by the highway ringing up the cash register with the laser gun. They just pick the low hanging fruit rather than patrol and grab the people causing the real safety issues.

corgimom
31480
Points
corgimom 07/14/13 - 04:00 am
4
9
If people don't want speeding

If people don't want speeding tickets, they shouldn't speed.

Way back when, my driver's ed teacher told the class, "If you speed, or if you tailgate, you WILL get into an accident, sooner or later."

Words of wisdom.

itsanotherday1
42275
Points
itsanotherday1 07/14/13 - 10:03 am
7
1
Corgimom, it isn't about

Corgimom, it isn't about wanting or not wanting speeding tickets; it is all about effective traffic enforcement that gets the real threats off the road.

As far as safety is concerned, I could take a ZR1 Corvette and make it from Atlanta to Augusta in 1 hour on I-20, never getting under 130mph. The road itself can handle that speed. I could also do the Bobby Jones loop at that speed without much risk, the highway is smooth enough and straight enough. All assuming they closed the road to all other traffic of course.

The people posing a danger to the motoring public are the ones whose differential speed is great, slower or faster; and those cutting people off crossing multiple lanes to be first to an exit, tailgating, texting, driving drunk, etc. You can't deter those dangerous drivers when you are sitting by the road and handing out tickets for someone going 6 or 7 mph faster than the traffic flow.

edit: Someone above mentioned using the cars with low profile lights. I would be perfectly happy if Georgia would allow totally unmarked cars for LE. They would blend in with the traffic and better enable the police to catch those I described.

soapy_725
43676
Points
soapy_725 07/14/13 - 11:02 am
0
0
How many are do overs? Illegal?
Unpublished

How many are do overs? Illegal?

CobaltGeorge
155675
Points
CobaltGeorge 07/14/13 - 12:04 pm
1
5
iaod....

I agree, that is what we really need.....

"I would be perfectly happy if Georgia would allow totally unmarked cars for LE."

JENNPAT
241
Points
JENNPAT 07/14/13 - 02:33 pm
0
1
THE SHERIFF AND HIS CREW

NEED TO STOP THOSE CRAZY PEOPLE WHY KEEP CUTTING YOU OFF AND YOU CAN BE HALF OUT OF A PARKING SPACE AND SOME PERSON IS GOING TO COME SPEEDING IN THE PARKING LOT AND CUT RIGHT BEHINE YOU. ARE HOW ABOUT THE ONES WHO WALK RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOU OR RIGHT BEHINE YOU WHEN YOU ARE BACKING OUT AND DARE YOU TO HIT THEM BOY SOMETIMES I SURE WOULD LOVE TOO AND THEY WALK IN THE ROADS AND YOU HAVE TO STOP UNTIL THEY MAKE THIER MINDS TO GET OUT AND ON DEANS BRIDGE i wil be going the speed limit and other cars will amost run over me and they will look at me as if i am doing something wrong so where at the ticket writers then?

JENNPAT
241
Points
JENNPAT 07/14/13 - 02:33 pm
0
1
THE SHERIFF AND HIS CREW

NEED TO STOP THOSE CRAZY PEOPLE WHY KEEP CUTTING YOU OFF AND YOU CAN BE HALF OUT OF A PARKING SPACE AND SOME PERSON IS GOING TO COME SPEEDING IN THE PARKING LOT AND CUT RIGHT BEHINE YOU. ARE HOW ABOUT THE ONES WHO WALK RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOU OR RIGHT BEHINE YOU WHEN YOU ARE BACKING OUT AND DARE YOU TO HIT THEM BOY SOMETIMES I SURE WOULD LOVE TOO AND THEY WALK IN THE ROADS AND YOU HAVE TO STOP UNTIL THEY MAKE THIER MINDS TO GET OUT AND ON DEANS BRIDGE i wil be going the speed limit and other cars will amost run over me and they will look at me as if i am doing something wrong so where at the ticket writers then?

gargoyle
16264
Points
gargoyle 07/14/13 - 03:23 pm
3
0
unmarked cars can be

unmarked cars can be problematic. No doubt they would be effective but you can buy surplus ex police cars for bargain prices, without markings a blue light on the dash would make it tough to tell the good guys from the bad.

Riverman1
82450
Points
Riverman1 07/14/13 - 04:00 pm
6
0
Marked Cars Are Best

Marked cars are more of a deterrent than unmarked cars. That's why some departments put empty cars near trouble spots. But I have to say it looks like the RCSO is working hard and doing their job. No reason to complain about them doing what we pay them for.

nocnoc
41446
Points
nocnoc 07/14/13 - 04:54 pm
4
1
Can anyone say Operation rolling revenue?

It seems this is almost a "Rub salt into the wound" article.

Little Lamb
45393
Points
Little Lamb 07/14/13 - 08:16 pm
2
1
Hazards

IAD posted:

. . . but you can't observe that [following too closely, dangerous lane changes, distracted driving, weaving, etc.] sitting by the highway ringing up the cash register with the laser gun. They just pick the low hanging fruit rather than patrol and grab the people causing the real safety issues.

I love the imagery. Those radar guns are price scanners for the police.

corgimom
31480
Points
corgimom 07/14/13 - 09:06 pm
0
4
It'sanotherday, no, you don't

It'sanotherday, no, you don't get to speed because "the road can handle it." Because it's a public road, everybody gets to use it, and there's traffic.

I remember a few years ago, a man that was speeding in Aiken County, on I-20. He was doing 130 mph, he lost control, and hit a tree. The coroner wrote on his death certificate that the cause of death was stupidity.

It's not about "the road can take it". It's that if you are driving 130 mph, and you make one little mistake, somebody will die. There are no forgivable mistakes at that speed. Or a tire blows out. Or an animal crosses the road.

"Safety" isn't just about your safety, it's about the safety of the people around you, too.

Fiat_Lux
15146
Points
Fiat_Lux 07/15/13 - 11:09 am
0
0
I guess you missed the part about needing a closed road

for that kind of speed.

I like the idea of both unmarked and marked LE vehicles, although I sure do hate getting caught.

On interstates the biggest problem is not speeders but left lane loafers. They cause constant problems because they elicit tailgating and road rage by their thoughtlessness and, often, arrogance. I really hate those people, at least in the abstract.

griff6035
3955
Points
griff6035 07/15/13 - 01:13 pm
0
0
Supervision

How does a Lt supervise the Uniformed division when they already have a Major and two Captains in place.

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