Hawbaker: Disobedience of traffic laws in Sun City Peachtree is “unbelievable”

SHEILA A. MATHEWS :::

Spalding County Commissioner Don Hawbaker – who described the disobedience of traffic laws in Sun City Peachtree as “unbelievable” – has requested to have every street in gated community approved for the use of speed detection devices.

Hawbaker’s request was made during the Oct. 21, Board of Commissioners meeting as officials were discussing a request for approval submitted by Sheriff Darrell Dix that is necessary for continuing use of certain technology.

County Manager William Wilson explained that a list of roadways must be submitted every three years to the Georgia Department of Public Safety outlining the speed limit and other criteria of roads where law enforcement officers may utilize speed detection devices.

During that discussion, Hawbaker asked what is necessary to have streets added to the list.

“The Sheriff’s Department generally recommends any roads to be placed on the list. The Sheriff is here if you’ve got any questions,” Wilson said. “Is there one in particular?”
“Yeah, like, every street within the Sun City community,” Hawbaker replied. “We could balance our budget on the speeding tickets that could be issued to the speeders who exceed the standard 25 miles per hour limit in Sun City alone. I mean the other day, yeah, I admit I was going 30 miles an hour, but I got passed by somebody who was going probably 50 or 60 miles an hour on a two-lane road. And I want those streets on the list and periodic control and observation and limit to…somebody’s gonna get killed out there and I’m just tired of, you know, for 12 years, it’s existed this way. And you know, I love the people that live out there and don’t want to unnecessarily annoy, aggravate or intrude on their lives, but I want them to obey the law, and it’s not being obeyed right now.”

Dix explained the general process for adding streets for Department of Transportation approval, and said merely wanting one included is insufficient.

“Just because there’s a paved road does not mean that it meets the requirements to be on the DoT approved list,” Dix said before adding, “There are guidelines that have to be followed for it…There’s a set of DoT standards that we must meet for them to be on the list.”

“All I request is that that happen, and you know, if there’s anything I can do to assist, I will do so,” said Hawbaker, whose district includes Sun City Peachtree.

Wilson said Del Webb Boulevard – the primary road through the community – may be eligible, but perhaps not the streets within the individual pods.

“That alone – Del Webb Boulevard alone would assist in everything from you know eliminating risks and endangerment to life to really generating speeding ticket funds for the county. Del Webb Boulevard alone is out of hand, and the only thing we can do out there at this point is have Code Enforcement sit there – which the do from time to time – and hand out tickets for people who blow through stop signs, and that happens all the time,” Hawbaker said. “To me, it’s just unbelievable how people think they can, you know, just ignore traffic laws out there, but you know, stop signs are about the only thing we can address at this point, but I’ve been wanting to address the speeding violations that occur out there continuously. Well, anyway, I’ve made my point.”

In a later interview, Dix explained a bit of the process involved in obtaining state approval for the use of speed detection devices.

“Every three years, we have to renew our permit to run radar and speed detection in Spalding County. All law enforcement agencies have to do that, not just us. As part of that, you have to submit a list of streets with very specific guidelines set by the state regarding the overall length of the roadway, visibility, degree of grade of the roadway – it can’t be too steep or too shallow – so, we have to make sure the roads that we’re going to run radar and laser on have to meet those criteria,” Dix said. “Quite often if we have somebody who fights a speeding ticket, their attorney or them, they can do an Open Record request, and get out permit, the officer’s training the list of approved roadways and other information that does play a role in court.”

The GRIP also asked Dix to respond to the premise of balancing the county’s budget with revenue from speeding tickets.

“Writing tickets is not about generating revenue. Writing traffic tickets is about public safety. It’s about making the roadways safer. It’s about cutting down on traffic accidents. It’s about making the roadways safer for people to travel on. It’s not about generating revenue,” he said. “The more tickets we write, out budget doesn’t increase. We don’t get anything out of it except making the roadways safer.”

Publisher’s note: The GRIP reported this story remotely from the live feed of the Oct. 21, 2019, Spalding County Board of Commissioner’s meeting.

Comments

  1. I do not think we should have an impaired person making these kind of decisions. His position should be taken away from him. He embarrassed all of us, why should he not be embarrassed.

  2. I really disregard anything Don is involved in. After going to jail for DUI, I think he should not be allowed to make any decisions.
    I think his position should be taken away from him. How often does he make a decision drunk.
    I would like to know if there were any consequences for his actions.

  3. Please follow up on what was said that Code Enforcement catching people running stop signs at Sun City and it’s ‘unbelievable’. It would be interesting to know how many people were actually running stop signs. It sounds like a distraction story to me.

  4. Concerned Citizen says:

    Are the streets in Sun City public or private? If they are private then there is nothing you can do, if they are public then you do have to meet certain requirements. If they are private and they want the county to maintain them then they would have to bring them up to county standards and the BOC would have to accept them. Then you will send all necessary documents to GDOT so they can accept them. Then you can file for the radar and speed detection devices permits.

  5. Dude can’t not drive under the influence but wants robocops on every street to maintain the golf cart speed of 25? 25 is literally braking while idling most of the time. I bet this guy is a hoot at HOA meetings.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: