BBsGarage Reader
6/18/08 7:00 a.m.

HOLLY SPRINGS, Ga. -- The surging price of gasoline has come to this: a "fuel surcharge" on your next speeding ticket.

Drivers caught speeding in this north Atlanta suburb soon will have to pay an extra $12 -- to cover $4-a-gallon gas costs for the police officers who stop them.

The City Council passed the fee hike, effective July 1, to offset fuel prices that have eaten up nearly 60 percent of the police department's 2008 fuel budget, Police Chief Ken Ball says.

He expects the fee increase, which applies to all moving violations and can be rescinded if gas prices fall below $3 a gallon, to generate $19,500 to $26,000 a year for the town of 7,700.

Ball says he was seeking ways to maintain patrols despite record high gas prices. "I was hearing that Delta (Air Lines), pizza deliverers, florists were adding fuel charges to their services, and I thought, why not police departments?" he says.

Atlanta might be next. Monday, the City Council approved by a 13-0 vote Councilman C.T. Martin's proposal to add a $10-$15 surcharge for motorists convicted of speeding and other moving violations, Martin says. "I want to recover the cost of the extra gas without raising property taxes," he says.

The legislation awaits Mayor Shirley Franklin's approval.

Other cities could follow. Ball says he's being "inundated" by calls from police chiefs and city managers. "I've heard from at least a dozen police chiefs and half a dozen city managers," he says of the measure passed Monday night. "They want to know how we did it, and could we send them a copy of the ordinance."

Wendy Balazik, spokeswoman for the International Association of Chiefs of Police, says she's not aware of any other cities adding such a surcharge. "But it makes sense," she says. "Law enforcement agencies are already facing a number of financial pressures, and rising fuel costs can't help the situation at all."

The National League of Cities says it is unaware of other cities adding such fees.

The national average cost for a gallon of regular gas was $4.078 Tuesday, according to auto club AAA and the Oil Price Information Service.

Katie Harris, 20, a babysitter and student at Georgia Perimeter College, doesn't like the new fines. "It always seems like government officials are trying to take money from citizens' pockets," she says.

Mayor Tim Downing says, "This is a self-taxing system. If you don't break the law, you don't pay the tax."

therex Dork
6/18/08 7:11 a.m.

Hey, I've got an idea.

How about we put police officers in Yarises instead of Crown Vics? That will save on fuel!

HappyAndy New Reader
6/18/08 7:18 a.m.

I've got an even better idea: put the cops on segways.... no fuel bills no air polution and no speeding tickets. everybody wins!

grtechguy SuperDork
6/18/08 7:29 a.m.

or bicycles....

P71 GRM+ Memberand Reader
6/18/08 7:43 a.m.

I get 30MPG on the highway and 22-23MPG in town in my Vic, how is that so bad? I'd like to see what kind of mileage a Yaris would get with all the police equipment, my guess is "not so good".

Don't break the law. Seems easy enough.

John Brown
John Brown GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
6/18/08 7:52 a.m.

You have a plugged fuel filter.

GameboyRMH GRM+ Memberand Dork
6/18/08 8:01 a.m.

Hey, a Yaris is no slouch, if not for the visibility problems it wouldn't be a bad cop car with a manual tranny...

On the other hand, if you get caught speeding, a $12 surcharge isn't even going to register on your problem-o-meter. I say good idea if it keeps them from raising taxes even more than usual.

skruffy Dork
6/18/08 8:52 a.m.

Well, everyone else charges more due to the high price of fuel, why not pay more on your unlawful road use tax?

Duke Dork
6/18/08 8:53 a.m.

The problem is not that the cop cars get bad mileage while they're driving, it's that the regulations oblige the cops to sit there with the car parked and idling while they gun for speeders.

Hey - we may have just found a reason for Priuses.

Strizzo HalfDork
6/18/08 8:56 a.m.
P71 wrote: I get 30MPG on the highway and 22-23MPG in town in my Vic, how is that so bad?

ok, now go out and add another 1000lbs of crap to it, and start driving it around as if you had no worries of getting stopped for driving like an ass, and someone else is paying the fuel bill.

neon4891 HalfDork
6/18/08 9:21 a.m.

wow, i have never before wanted to quote almost every post. I wonder if the police spec chargers have MDS. simple, stay out of trouble, no ticket=no surcharge. But it makes me wonder, are thhere any atempts to improve economy in cop cars?

GameboyRMH GRM+ Memberand Dork
6/18/08 10:28 a.m.
neon4891 wrote: But it makes me wonder, are thhere any atempts to improve economy in cop cars?


triumph7 New Reader
6/18/08 10:37 a.m.

The other day I was telling somebody that, with a lot of people slowing down, cops (and governments) were going to be looking for ways to make up the lost revenue. Remember, its not about safety.

914Driver GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
6/18/08 10:58 a.m.

That makes more sense than the airlines charging you for a bag, $25 for two. They are considering "premium seating" surcharges now. $20 for a window, $10 for an aisle.

Salanis HalfDork
6/18/08 11:11 a.m.

I can't see a Yaris for a cop car. Imagine trying to set a road-block with those things. You'd need twice as many cars and anything could plow right through them.

A Prius though... the batteries would add the weight needed to stop a vehicle, and their lifespan is more a matter of time than use, so it could very well be economical. Plus there's the time at idle factor, as described.

neon4891 HalfDork
6/18/08 11:22 a.m.

but who would pull over for a prius, seriosly

the shame of being pulled over by a prius...

or just make a hybrid Vic, or a cops spec tahoe hybrid

Tommy Suddard
Tommy Suddard GRM+ Member
6/18/08 12:35 p.m.

I don't think a Prius is necessary to fix the idling problem. Why don't they retrofit all the Crown Vics with those systems that automatically shut off your engine at a stop light? That way, they wouldn't burn so much fuel idling all day.

mad_machine GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
6/18/08 12:53 p.m.

Just need diesel cop cars...

GameboyRMH GRM+ Memberand Dork
6/18/08 1:45 p.m.
mad_machine wrote: Just need diesel cop cars...

It seems they don't like diesel. A few years ago the police by me chose the Land Rover Discovery for their fleet of trucks. Guess which engine?

integraguy New Reader
6/18/08 3:13 p.m.

I work for a pizza delivery shop....when I started, gas was less than $2.75/gallon. Since then it has, of course, gone up to nearly $4.00/gallon. We have a "delivery charge" that hasn't changed in the time I've worked there while my "portion" of that charge has gone from $0.99 ALL THE WAY UP TO......$1.04. We don't charge a "fuel surcharge" and I don't get the whole delivery charge.

While it's nice that this town is making the fines for speeding adjustable for the price of gas, why stop there? If they have to come to your house to answer a 911-type of a charge. Would citizens get a reduced speeding fine if gas ever drops BELOW $3.00/gallon? Sorry, I don't think small(ish) towns like this NEED the revenue and it's associated costs, that running after speeders generates.

carguy123 Reader
6/18/08 4:42 p.m.
P71 wrote: Don't break the law. Seems easy enough.

Actually it's not all that easy in some towns. Take Plano, Texas for instance. Where they change the speed limits 4-5 times as you go thru town. The areas just past the neighborhoods where everything opens up has the slowest speed limits - try 35 on a 6 lane divided road with fields on both sides.

They change the speed limits just before the top of a hill, etc. They work it for all it's worth. Every ticket is at least $299. They'll let you off of the ticket you'll pay their fee and agree not to speed for 90 days (impossible in that town). Now if you get caught again within that 90 day period they really sock it to you.

To top it all off they lie. They have a quota and if needed they target and stop randomly and give tickets. I have been stopped twice with witnesses in the car as I've been going under the speed limit.

They also shortened the yellow light so they can give more red light tickets.

All their cop cars have rolling radar so they can get you in the opposing lane while driving.

porksboy HalfDork
6/18/08 8:41 p.m.

The thing is Holly Springs is putting the additional "funds" in to the general funds of the city. "That way there is no incentive for police to write extra tickets" so says the police chief. Yeh right. Also how then does that solve the "fuel budget crises"? Maybe they could cut back on the doughnut fund?

neon4891 HalfDork
6/18/08 9:38 p.m.

this can lead back to the cop who pulled people over for "rolling stops" thread. this stuff makes my $130 ticket seam like a cake walk, which i will pay off on this weeks pay check

porksboy HalfDork
6/19/08 10:39 p.m.

I wonder if Holly Springs cops do full throttle accelerations from stop signs like I saw a Georgia State Patrol Officer do this afternoon? That certainly wont help the fuel "crisis".

mel_horn HalfDork
6/21/08 7:45 a.m.
triumph7 wrote: The other day I was telling somebody that, with a lot of people slowing down, cops (and governments) were going to be looking for ways to make up the lost revenue. Remember, its not about safety.

Ah, yes, surcharges. Pennsylvania invented them, BTW.

One thing to bear in mind about such things is that it takes maybe 2 minutes to pass the law and 20 years to rescind it.

Remember the 55 MPH NMSL(Nationally Mandated Speed Limit)? You never heard about police departments complaining that they didn't have the resources to enforce THAT like they do with illegal immigration.

Here's a list of costs and surcharges for a typical traffic violation:

Emergency Medical Service $10.00

Catastrophic Fund $30.00 (Originally used as a fund for uninsured injured folks, now regarded as a slush fund for lawyers?)

Judicial Computer Project $ 9.00 (Don't they all have them yet?)

Access to Justice $1.00 (WTF?)

Court Cost Commonwealth $6.49

Court Cost County $16.02 (Commemorating an old BMW?)

Commonwealth Cost HB627(?) $6.49 (Refers to a PA House bill that I can't find the text of)

State Fine $12.50 (the real reason you're here)

Municipal Fine (ditto) $12.50

So a $25 fine turns into $104.00

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