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Analysis shows top sites for speeding tickets

Saturday, Oct. 19, 2013 6:06 PM
Last updated Sunday, Oct. 20, 2013 10:16 AM
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The Richmond County Sheriff’s Office wanted to make drivers more aware of speed limits this year. Based on the number of citations written, they’ve been successful.

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More than 250 speeding tickets have been issued this year at the intersection of Bobby Jones Expressway and Peach Orchard Road by Richmond County police.  EMILY ROSE BENNETT/STAFF
EMILY ROSE BENNETT/STAFF
More than 250 speeding tickets have been issued this year at the intersection of Bobby Jones Expressway and Peach Orchard Road by Richmond County police.

As of Oct. 9, the department had already surpassed the number of speeding tickets it issued last year. The 10,209 tickets already represent an 8 percent increase over 2012, and there are still about 2½ months left in 2013. There were 9,446 speeding tickets issued last year.

The Augusta Chronicle analyzed the 10,209 issued, finding that Bobby Jones Expressway, Interstate 20 and River Watch Parkway are the three hot spots for getting a speeding ticket. The three roads accounted for more than 3,700 speeding tickets.

“We have had an increased effort to slow (violators) down on Bobby Jones because we had so many crashes over there – and on River Watch and I-20 – that have been major crashes,” Lt. Ramone Lamkin said. “We want our presence to be known out there and to have voluntary compliance.”

The increase in tickets, Lamkin said, is part of an effort to change the behavior of drivers in Richmond County. Reck­less behavior, such as speeding, following too closely and driving impaired, is targeted by officers, who “flood” problem areas.

“If there is a problem area, you’re going to see a barrage of police,” Lamkin said. “We’re going to flood the area and try to stop the behavior.”

March, April and May had the highest totals of any month for speeding tickets. That three-month period overlapped Operation Rolling Thunder, a 90-day initiative by the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety to crack down on traffic violations in counties with the highest number of fatalities.

September has seen the fewest number of citations so far this year, with 773, followed by February, which had 974.

The department’s effort to crack down on speeders was greatly aided by Sheriff Richard Roundtree’s decision last year to restructure the traffic division, increasing the number from two officers per shift to 10
or more. The county was coming off one of its worst years for traffic fatalities in 2012, with 42.

Deputies working in the division focus on nabbing offenders who demonstrate aggressive driving.

“They don’t ride beats and they don’t handle calls,” Lamkin said. “All they do is focus on traffic and traffic violations. We’re trying to create that omnipresence. If they feel like we’re out all the time, they’ll fall into the right behavior without actually having to get a ticket.”

Lamkin described the division as “fluid,” saying it will mull over data to identify problem areas and react accordingly. The result, he said, could decrease the amount of citations that have to be issued over time.

“I don’t want to have our guys issue any citations,” he said. “I won’t say that we will get to the point that we don’t have any, but we will get to the point that you have more people observant of the traffic laws.”

WHERE TO SLOW DOWN

The areas with at least 100 speeding tickets issued this year, according to an Augusta Chronicle analysis:

LOCATION TICKETS

Bobby Jones Expressway 424

Interstate 20 414

River Watch and River Shoals 348

Bobby Jones and Peach Orchard 251

River Watch 188

Bobby Jones and Mike Padgett 180

Bobby Jones and Interstate 20 165

Interstate 20 and Walton Way Extension 163

3700 Walton Way Extension 159

Gordon Highway 152

River Watch and Alexander 142

2000 Gordon Highway 140

Interstate 20 and Washington 132

Interstate 20, mile marker 196 123

Bobby Jones and Wrightsboro 121

Interstate 20, mile marker 199 121

Bobby Jones and Gordon Highway 114

Interstate 20, mile marker 197 109

Pleasant Home Road and Walton Way Extension 106

Source: Richmond County Sheriff’s Office

SPEEDING TICKETS

A month-by-month look at speeding tickets written by the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office this year:

MONTH TOTAL TICKETS

January 1,198

February 974

March 1,277

April 1,266

May 1,420

June 1,053

July 1,053

August 1,037

September 773

October * 158

Total 10,209

* through Oct. 9

Source: Richmond County Sheriff’s Office

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rational thought trumps emotion
2558
Points
rational thought trumps emotion 10/19/13 - 08:07 pm
9
5
Easy Solution

Don't speed, Don't get a ticket. It took North Augusta a few year to be known as the area not to speed but their injuries and fatalities drastically decreased over the years as is now occurring in Richmond County.

Little Lamb
46405
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Little Lamb 10/19/13 - 09:30 pm
8
4
Resources

Now that they've diverted officers into speeding tickets, we have seen an uptick in personal crime — burglary, robbery, assault, rape, murder, grand theft auto, etc.

You get what you pay for.

jrsc429
381
Points
jrsc429 10/19/13 - 10:30 pm
6
2
this doesn't make sense

The statistics as presented doesn't make sense. Why list Bobby Jones Expressway, then list Bobby Jones at Peach Orchard? Same situation with RiverWatch, and individual intersections.

Georgialina
7441
Points
Georgialina 10/19/13 - 10:35 pm
9
5
@ LL

You are right and it's all about the money.Traffic violators pay fines and the Sheriff's Dept. gets a percentage of that money. Why waste time on robbery, assaults, murders, etc when real hardened criminals are out there going 10 miles over the speed limit.

Travis Highfield
225
Points
Travis Highfield 10/19/13 - 11:05 pm
7
1
Depends on the deputy issuing the ticket...

@jrsc429, some of the tickets only list Bobby Jones Expressway without listing a cross street. We used the cross street when the information was available to give a better picture of where the offenses took place.

@LittleLamb, that's not necessarily true. We've seen fewer cases in many of those categories over the years.

http://chronicle.augusta.com/news/crime-courts/2013-10-06/violent-crime-...
http://chronicle.augusta.com/news/crime-courts/2013-07-17/fewer-vehicle-...
http://chronicle.augusta.com/news/crime-courts/2013-06-08/homicides-rich...

dichotomy
33529
Points
dichotomy 10/19/13 - 11:11 pm
7
5
"Why waste time on robbery,

"Why waste time on robbery, assaults, murders, etc when real hardened criminals are out there going 10 miles over the speed limit."

You got that right. No profit in catching punks and thugs. No profit in expired tags, no insurance, no license. Those folks don't have the money to pay fines. The money is in those working taxpayers with late model cars that are properly registered and insured doing 10 over with the flow of traffic. It's always about the money. I wish I felt as safe walking across the parking lot at the Lowe's in South Augusta as I do driving across town on Bobby Jones. I am not excusing speeding but it would not be my priority for distribution of my officers. A few more speed cops won't help the crime rate.

ragingbull
945
Points
ragingbull 10/19/13 - 11:33 pm
3
2
My wife got a speeding ticket

My wife got a speeding ticket on I-20 between Bobby Jones and River Watch one morning just following the flow of traffic. She was targeted because she had one the day running lamps on her car was out. But the nice officer let her off with a warning for that, but burnt her up on the speeding ticket.

specsta
6507
Points
specsta 10/20/13 - 03:09 am
3
1
Change The Tactic - Reward Good Drivers

I wonder why law enforcement believes that writing people tickets for traffic infractions will change driver behavior? Studies have shown that increased jail or prison time does not deter crime rates, so why would a traffic fine deter bad drivers from driving bad?

Writing tickets is putting a Band-Aid on the problem. The wound is still there and the only way to gain compliance is to start from scratch, with driver education and training. People drive like they have lost their minds in Augusta because they don't know any better. Their parents drive like maniacs and this is what they are taught.

It has to begin with the youngest drivers, drilling proper driving techniques into their brains. The old folks aren't going to change, law enforcement might as well begin to understand that.

Perhaps a reward system should be instituted by law enforcement, where good drivers are recognized and rewarded with a cash incentive. News would spread like wildfire that good driving was being recognized with a cash payout, and some drivers' habits would change overnight. Literally.

Writing tickets for fines does not work. It just makes people upset and angry, because many times tickets are given to good drivers who just happen to make a small mistake. The bad drivers go on their merry way uncaught and unchallenged - tailgating, speeding, changing lanes without signaling, being aggressive to other drivers who are keeping the speed limit, and speeding through parking lots like it's a roadway.

Reward good drivers and see how quickly folks will make an effort to be part of that incentive.

thauch12
6741
Points
thauch12 10/20/13 - 07:19 am
4
2
specsta, that sounds like an

specsta, that sounds like an interesting idea. The obvious problem is that would involve the outflow of money from local governments that are already cash-strapped after pursuing follies like renovating the Marble Palace downtown. Plus, they wouldn't be making any money in the deal so you already know that will never happen.

On another note, it's easy for them to ticket folks on Riverwatch. Around I-20, the entire thing is basically a giant speed trap. Can anyone give a rational explanation as to why the speed limit suddenly drops to 35 for that 100 yard stretch around I-20 when I haven't seen anything like that anywhere else in the county? I would love to see some statistics as to how exactly this has "made me safer"...while they're at it, perhaps they can show how much the Richmond County Sheriff's Department has made on this stretch targeting the more affluent residents of Columbia County...

Graymare
3244
Points
Graymare 10/20/13 - 07:27 am
6
2
Yesterday evening on Bobby

Yesterday evening on Bobby Jones near P.Orchard, a young woman, busy talking on her cell phone, flew past us. She had to been going at least 80 in a 55. She probably didn't realize how fast she was going. I told the hubby "she's driving as fast as she is talking". The PD need to crack down on these cell talkers and also on the "I can't drive without talking on my cellphone" folks who are in the "passing lane" going so slow they are blocking traffic. Hang up and drive!

itsanotherday1
43771
Points
itsanotherday1 10/20/13 - 08:53 am
6
0
Thauch: "I would love to see

Thauch: "I would love to see some statistics as to how exactly this has "made me safer".."
Hey, doncha know everything they do is to make you "safe"?

Graymare: "The PD need to crack down on these cell talkers and also on the "I can't drive without talking on my cellphone" folks who are in the "passing lane" going so slow they are blocking traffic"

They can't do that while sitting by the road running laser can they?

grouse
1635
Points
grouse 10/20/13 - 11:44 am
0
0
I'm all for stopping
Unpublished

I'm all for stopping speeders, but the costs of the fines for any traffic stop are ridiculous...that should have been covered in this article...

Graymare
3244
Points
Graymare 10/20/13 - 12:43 pm
2
0
Hey itsad!

Keen sense of the obvious!

countyman
20236
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countyman 10/20/13 - 01:23 pm
1
4
Riverwatch

There' only a tiny portion of Riverwatch pkwy located in Columbia County which is near the Riverwatch/Pleasant Home rd intersection.

I don't know how the RCSO could be targeting the more affluent resident of Columbia County, because West Augusta and North Richmond are located in Richmond County.

Sweet son
10553
Points
Sweet son 10/20/13 - 01:43 pm
1
0
Pleasant Home and Walton Way Extension.

Glad it was mentioned. Usually happens a lot on Tuesday morning and those on Walton Way Ext. headed towards Martinez coming over I 20 are targeted from the pain clinic at Pleasant Home and Walton Way Ext.

Sweet son
10553
Points
Sweet son 10/20/13 - 01:44 pm
1
0
@Travis and Sandy

Now another story for Columbia County would be good.

thauch12
6741
Points
thauch12 10/20/13 - 03:25 pm
2
2
Brilliant observation there

Brilliant observation there countyman! You are in fact correct that there is only a very small portion of Riverwatch Parkway in Columbia County. Well done.

Unfortunately that doesn't have anything to do with the fact that the road LEADS to some of the most affluent areas in the CSRA. How else do the doctors, lawyers, business people, etc. who live in places like West Lake and Jones Creek get to/from downtown?

Also, I'm not really sure which "affluent" areas of West Augusta around Roverwatch that you're talking about? That and this "North Richmond" designation you keep referring to makes 0 sense considering basically everything north of Bobby Jones is in the northern third of the county...

countyman
20236
Points
countyman 10/20/13 - 04:01 pm
1
3
Hunters Ridge, neighbohroods

Hunters Ridge, neighbohroods in/around Watervale, etc all have many homes over $300k?

Bizkit
32151
Points
Bizkit 10/20/13 - 04:36 pm
2
1
Wow averaging 1000 a month

Wow averaging 1000 a month let's say$100 dollars per ticket- dang $100K a month.

thauch12
6741
Points
thauch12 10/20/13 - 05:19 pm
3
2
Nice try there countyman,

Nice try there countyman, both Watervale and the vast majority of Hunters Ridge are both located entirely in Columbia County. Not to mention the assertion that "many" of the houses in that area are over $300K is patently false. Don't believe me, consult mlsaugusta.com, trulia.com or zillow.com.
In any case those areas, while nice, are not really in the same vein as West Lake or Jones Creek.

But don't let my facts get in the way of your delusions...

oldredneckman96
5095
Points
oldredneckman96 10/20/13 - 05:39 pm
3
1
Tickets vs Accidents
Unpublished

Lets look at a study that compares accidents on roads versus tickets written for speeding. I will guarantee that more accidents occur where fewer speeding tickets are written. Yes, excessive speed, compared to surrounding traffic, can cause wrecks, but our deputies need to look at the over all safety picture and get drunks, mopeds, bicycles and golf carts off the road. These tie up traffic and cause more wrecks per mile driven than anything else you can name.

ColdBeerBoiledPeanuts
8345
Points
ColdBeerBoiledPeanuts 10/20/13 - 05:54 pm
1
2
Hwy 56

Not even mentioned and the most dangerous stretch of roadway in Richmond County! Log trucks with unsecured loads running 75 mph. Someone at the Chronicle should look into that!!! If the loads are secure, then where is there so much wood on the roadway????

countyman
20236
Points
countyman 10/20/13 - 06:22 pm
1
5
Neither West Lake or Jones

Neither West Lake or Jones Creek is 'around' or 'off' Riverwatch pkwy....

I guess I can include the neighborhood Rockbrook since it's a couple of miles away from Riverwatch pkwy too.

Those websites only show a few of the homes for ''sale'', and the majority of Watervale(three different neighborhoods) is not apart of CC.

I also don't have to rely on any websites when I'm already very familiar with the real estate in metro Augusta.

thauch12
6741
Points
thauch12 10/21/13 - 08:02 am
3
1
Wrong wrong wrong

The point you continue to miss is that Riverwatch is the route that the affluent in neighborhoods like Jones Creek and West Lake take to go to/from downtown. Your ridiculous example of Rock Brook is particularly irrelevant because there is no good reason why someone who lives in a neighborhood off Berckman's Road would use Riverwatch on a consistent basis to commute downtown like someone from the afore mentioned areas in CC.

As for Watervale, you are categorically wrong. It is located in Columbia County with next to none of it (if any for that matter) located in Richmond County. This can easily be verified by consulting Google maps or better yet driving past/through the neighborhood like I do on a daily basis. Don't let my facts stop you from spouting mistruths though.

While I don't doubt you may know a lot about real estate, you are clearly wrong in this instance. Not to mention the fact I would readily trust verifiable nationally recognized resources for real estate comparisons before some guy's self-proclaimed "expertise." Sorry for being a rational human being.

Dana G
4
Points
Dana G 10/21/13 - 02:01 am
1
1
hmm, 10,000+ speeding

hmm, 10,000+ speeding tickets, at AT LEAST $150 a pop is about 1.5 million extra dollars once paid. I know we hired a couple officers. I'm glad we're working towards eliminating the main problem in Richmond County: speeders. I have a good feeling less than 200 of those 10,000 tickets were a hair over 20+ on the highways. You can get a ticket for doing 15 over. And with thunder, I'm pretty sure some people got nailed for doing less than 15 over, which is ridiculous.

Be real, people. 15 over on I20 is 80 for the most part. Those are huge stretches of road. That's not THAT fast. 70 on the right lane, 85 in the middle, and 95+ in the left/passing lane. I don't see what's wrong with that outside of the law. The fact that the entire half mile surrounding the I20/520 interchange is 55 is simply ridiculous. It's a well developed interchange that is still pretty young.

God forbid we exercise a little darwinism to weed out people who can't handle more productive daily driving demands and the attention they require. You don't need a sports car to safely handle 85 on I20.

Bobby jones? 55 everywhere? If I'm lucky, 65? Honestly. Aren't we widening it, too? Surely we can up the limit. I have places to be, and if the crowd as a whole moved faster, it'd be better for us all.

I could rant on the fact that police patrol I20 at night at all in a heartbeat. So you mean, you're saving my life by not letting me do 90+ when I'm driving with MAYBE 5 other drivers in the same 2 mile stretch? Ohkay. But taking my license, labeling me as a super speeder, making it harder to get to work, possibly get fired, not pay my bills, lose credit, blah blah blah is so much better. Saved a life though. Oh really?

If you think 70+ is too fast, then stick to 50 on the regular roads and stay off my highways. I'll stay a speeder.

The law says it's wrong. Because the law is a measure of how dangerous something is? Liquor is legal. Tobacco is legal. But speeding?

Riverman1
84920
Points
Riverman1 10/21/13 - 04:32 am
2
0
After driving in Atlanta last

After driving in Atlanta last weekend, I find the speed limits in Augusta ridiculously low on I-20 and Riverwatch.

Riverman1
84920
Points
Riverman1 10/21/13 - 04:47 am
1
1
Thauch is right

Thauch is right. The houses in the neighborhoods at Watervale: Highlands, Cambridge, Habersham, Gloucester, The Village and Stevens Pointe are all in Columbia County. Westlake bordered the Highlands where I used to live. Hunter's Ridge across Stevens Creek Rd. has a portion in Richmond County. Also, Watervale Apartments and town houses are in Richmond County. Yep, I used to take Riverwatch when I worked downtown.

seenitB4
88158
Points
seenitB4 10/21/13 - 07:50 am
1
1
Driving in Atlanta

Most of us learn the back roads....safer that way.

nocnoc
43446
Points
nocnoc 10/21/13 - 08:02 am
3
0
I wonder how many tickets were in violation of OCGA 40-14-9

and OCGA 40-6-182.

Set up at the bottom of long steep hills like.
* Glenn Hills overpass to Gordon Hwy on Bobby Jones.
* Richmond Hill Hill overpass to bottom of near Hwy 56.
* Bottom of Gracewood Hill.
* Bottom of Hwy 56 Hill.
* Bottom of Windsor Spring hill.
* Walton Way Hill
* Bottom I20 Hill from Wheeler rd and I-20 to Bobby Jones

O.C.G.A. 40-14-9 (2010)
40-14-9. Evidence obtained in certain areas inadmissible; use of device on hill. AS defined in Code Section 40-6-182. No speed detection device shall be employed by county, municipal, or campus law enforcement officers on any portion of any highway which has a grade in excess of 7 percent.

Don't get me wrong,
I am all for stopping speeders. But lets be fair in the process. When any vehicle can coast down a hill faster than the speed limit, requiring constant braking to stay below the speed limit, that is MORE TRAP than Enforcement.

NOTE: 7% grade means it goes down 7 units for every 100 units of horizontal distance. So, that would be arctangent (0.07) = 4.00417 degree from the horizontal.

4.00 Degrees (7%) is not really that much if you think about.

Just see the picture included.
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/4/45/Grades_degrees....

itsanotherday1
43771
Points
itsanotherday1 10/21/13 - 11:03 am
0
2
I can't get on board with

I can't get on board with Dana's wishes to do 90 at will; but there is a good point to be made there.

If I could close down I-20 for 2 hrs; I could take a pack of Corvettes or other sports cars capable of 150mph +, and drive without incident from Alabama to South Carolina in 1.5 hrs or less.

The highway is quite capable of handling high speeds, but drivers are not. Anything past 80mph is tiring due to the vigilance and attention needed. If you have a bunch running 85, it is OK; but if you are a loner running that much faster than everyone else, you are a hazard.

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