Georgia deputies can't use radar guns to stop speeders in neighborhoods

By: Diane Cho
By: Diane Cho

It's a place where families take walks, and kids ride bikes and roller blade.

And it's only as safe as the driver who happens to be behind the wheel.

But we were surprised to learn that deputies don't have every tool at their disposal to stop these dangerous drivers.

The state has certain restrictions when it comes to local officers using a radar gun, and neighborhoods are one of them.

At the speed some of the drivers we saw Thursday night were going, you'd think you were looking at a road less traveled.

It's actually a neighborhood...and a rather large one.

"It's always been bad," says Jessie Ozmelek. She says drivers race up and down her street at Autumn Trail Road every day--especially in the mornings and afternoons when everyone is leaving and coming home from work.

"It bothers me because children out here come out here on bikes and I don't want anything to happen," Jessie says.

The sign says 25, but after we used our own radar gun we quickly realized the average speed was more like 35-40 miles per hour. That doesn't bother Jessie that much; it's when drivers reach speeds of 55+ that has her concerned.

And we clocked one driver going even faster than that...

70 mph in a 25.

Not too long before that, another driver stopped to ask us what we were doing.

And once we told him, he skidded off in the opposite direction. Good thing there wasn't a kid behind him.

"There was an accident a couple months ago. A young girl was going so fast she didn't make the curve and her car flipped in the woods there," says concerned neighbor Dwight Joiner.

So when Jessie called the sheriff's office to complain, you can imagine her surprise when they told her that radar guns are not allowed on neighborhood roads.

"He said his hands are tied," Jessie tells News 12.

But that doesn't mean deputies won't give you a neighborhood speeding ticket.

"In neighborhoods, we use the Too Fast for Conditions law: people going too fast to control their vehicle," says Deputy Bobby Bradford of the Columbia County Sheriff's Office.

And if enough neighbors in a subdivision sign a petition in Columbia County, you may be able to get a speed bump near you.

When we spoke to Columbia County's traffic deputies they told us they are aware of these high-speed areas and are monitoring them.

Mailing Address: P.O. Box 1212 Augusta, GA 30903 Main Telephone: (803) 278-1212 Newsroom: (803) 278-3111 Fax: (803) 442-4561
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