We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Over-aggressive cops and multiple speed limit changes

Tennessee
Level Contributor
17 posts
37 reviews
Save Topic
Over-aggressive cops and multiple speed limit changes

I grew up in the Southeast and regularly visited Atlanta on short trips. As most people know, I-75 is typically 70 MPH with the exception of a few areas where it drops to 55 MPH. However, it appears, that when you enter the state of Georgia, the speed limit changes constantly (i.e. 70 to 60 to 55 to 65). In many instances, one mile might be 70, suddenly drop to 55, and go back to 70 two miles later. Moreover, there may be only have one posted sign and, if you are in the fast lane on the multi-lane highway, you may not notice (especially if others are whizzing past you in the HOV lane).

Not only is the driving confusing, but GA is nice enough to station cops at each speed limit change to take advantage of the confusion. Apparently, they love out-of-state people and, remarked to me (as an out-of-state person who was snared in their speed trap) that I could just mail in my check. I normally would just chalk it up to bad luck and remit the money without worrying too much. But, I found out that the fine is $778!!!

I publish this posting as a warning to anyone going into Georgia (and, specifically, Atlanta). The money hungry cops (and likely, state itself) are looking for your cash. If you must drive through this cop ridden wasteland, I suggest that you boycott Atlanta gas stations and hotels in favor of the surrounding states who are more friendly to visitors.

Atlanta, Georgia
Destination Expert
for Atlanta
Level Contributor
11,684 posts
96 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Over-aggressive cops and multiple speed limit changes

You were doing more than just speeding if you were fined $778.

Tennessee
Level Contributor
17 posts
37 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Over-aggressive cops and multiple speed limit changes

Nope. Only speeding. Look at Atlanta's fines: atlantaga.gov/client_resources/…205-4-09.pdf

They raised the rates to this exorbitant level. I was going around 79 mph because I thought the limit was 70 mph. It was, in fact, only 55 mph. Everyone else was also speeding.

By the way, I was driving an SUV with my wife and kid. So, I wasn't out looking for trouble!

Atlanta, Georgia
Destination Expert
for Atlanta
Level Contributor
11,684 posts
96 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Over-aggressive cops and multiple speed limit changes

I see. The law is that speeding tickets are $500 max, but the extra must include court costs or something like that.

For future reference, the speed limit on interstates is 55 unless otherwise posted. So, if you don't see a sign telling you that you can go 70, you can't go 70. The setting of the speed limit is governed by statute, as it is in most states, and is based on the population of the area through which you're traveling. So, it's reasonably related to traffic and safety concerns. Although I almost always speed to some degree and tend to gripe about the presence of cops as well, I definitely recognize that what causes me to get a ticket is my breaking the law, not the fact that an officer was stationed in a particular spot.

atlanta ga
Level Contributor
3,158 posts
17 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Over-aggressive cops and multiple speed limit changes

For the record, anywhere inside of I-285 is 55mph, it does not change. Outside of I-285 the speed limit does change and gets progressively higher the more rural you get. I am not aware of any area on an interstate where the speedlimit frequently changes back and forth. There is also a new "super-speeder law" where fines are increased, and funds go to support the trauma centers in our state. But I thought you had to be doing 25+ over the limit to get that fine.

Tennessee
Level Contributor
17 posts
37 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Over-aggressive cops and multiple speed limit changes

If you drive I-75 S through GA, you'll notice that the speed DOES change to 65, 60, and 55 at various intervals. It does not necessarily correlate to being in a city or construction. This seems to be new and the extra enforcement is also new. I used to go to Atlanta and everyone drove 90+ and I felt slow going 75 MPH. So, I understand the need for enforcement. But, I felt like there was no warning -- especially since the officer admitted that just two miles before it was 70 MPH. They should post a large flashing sign on the welcome to Georgia borders saying: "Do not use your cruise control in our state, the speed limit may change abruptly and with little warning."

My beef is that I think GA's enforcement is unfair and particularly harsh on first-time offenders who made an honest mistake. As a leisure traveler, it makes me reluctant to want to visit Georgia because the prospect of a high fine is a deterrent.

Tennessee
Level Contributor
17 posts
37 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Over-aggressive cops and multiple speed limit changes

Another nice thing about Georgia is that they have no special provisions for first time offenders (i.e. defensive driving course, etc.) and they put the screw to drivers by imposing outrageous fines. With the economy in a recession, how many people can just shell out nearly $800?

I have no sympathy for GA if it attempts to raise money under the banner of "road safety" when it manipulates speeds on a seven lane highway and posts cops there to snare unsuspecting drivers.

Maybe they'll use my money to clean up their rest areas they so kindly provide every 200 miles or so! Then again, maybe not :) Probably be used to buy a silver toilet in the Atlanta courthouse.

Atlanta, Georgia
Destination Expert
for Atlanta
Level Contributor
11,684 posts
96 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Over-aggressive cops and multiple speed limit changes

You can plead nolo as a first-time offender and avoid points on your license. For a violation this egregious, avoiding points is a very good concession for the first-time offender.

Tennessee
Level Contributor
17 posts
37 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Over-aggressive cops and multiple speed limit changes

I fail to see how it is so "egregious." It would only be egregious if I knowingly saw a 55 MPH sign and decided I'd exceed the limit. Apparently, you work for the state or else you have a very narrow minded viewpoint.

A state is not always right and, in this case, Georgia was setting up a blatant speed trap. I don't see why you have such a blind allegiance and fail to understand that any accusation or crime is not always a black and white issue. Georgia has already shown its true colors on legal issues by trying to steal Tennessee's water by claiming the Tennessee River is actually in the Georgia boundaries. So, it's not like setting up a few speed traps to earn money is so obviously beneath them.

Moreover, it's not as if I'm biased. Indeed, I'm even licensed to practice law in the state of Georgia. But, even being a lawyer, I am not psychic about which "law" applies nor is any other driver on the road. If I see a 70 MPH marker and go a few miles over and, only two miles later, get stopped for speeding in a 55 MPH, I find it blatantly unreasonable. How many signs do you suppose were posted in that 2 mile stretch? One? And if there was one sign and there were many cars on the road, would it be reasonable to require that I see something that isn't in my range of view?

By the way, for me to "enjoy" the option of nolo contendere, I'd have to drag myself to Atlanta. I'll mail in my hard earned money and just consider it a hard lesson to always drive in the slow lane in Atlanta.

Atlanta, Georgia
Destination Expert
for Atlanta
Level Contributor
3,422 posts
100 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Over-aggressive cops and multiple speed limit changes

It's random when they decide to enforce speed limits in the Atlanta area and it's not often. You were unlucky that they were doing it when you passed through.

We've found that south Georgia is terrible about speed traps. My memory is that those speed limit changes aren't random. You can correlate them to being in an urban area or construction zone. That's typical for interstates in my experience. What's atypical is the cop stationed every half mile.

We got in one of those traps traveling in a rented minivan with FL plates on it. He was as furious as you are and traveled south of Macon twice to appear in court to protest it. I chalked it up to luck for the years we'd been speeding and hadn't gotten caught. It doesn't bother me because there's nothing you can do about it, but I do make a point of warning people on the forum if they are traveling 75 in south Georgia.

And before you attack my comments as part of your vendetta, I'm adding the disclaimer that I do not work for any form of government although I do particpate in it by voting occasionally.

Atlanta, Georgia
Destination Expert
for Atlanta
Level Contributor
3,422 posts
100 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Over-aggressive cops and multiple speed limit changes

"He was furious" refers to my husband who still harbors much resentment over his speeding ticket 2 years ago.

Get answers to your questions about Atlanta