Fast drivers looking to hide out in a crowd of cars might want to rethink their strategy soon. Slowing down would be the best option now that the Georgia State Patrol will be sporting new, improved radar equipment.
The McDuffie County Commission approved $6,540 of funding for four new radar units used to check the speed of cars. The radar equipment is not like the old units, according to local Post Commander Scott Johnson; these can pick out the fastest car in a group traveling together.
"Now what we can actually do is we can push a button that will blank out all the lower speeds and give us the fastest vehicle in the pack," Trooper Johnson said.
He added that the new equipment will be more precise and will be able to clock speeds of vehicles traveling in the same direction as troopers. The radars will be beneficial to the slower driver who may accidentally find themselves in a pack with speeding cars.
"It's better for the public too because the newer equipment has better technology. There's less chance of making a mistake," Trooper Johnson said. "It's just a piece of equipment that will help the officers but at the same time help the public too."
And some of the public agrees with that.
"I see where a lot of people are speeding and all, and hopefully it will correct that because it would make the roads a lot safer," said Thomson resident Denise English, who drives to Warrenton for work. "It will slow me down. ...I try to put it on cruise control anyway."
The 12 officers at the Thomson-based GSP office are glad to be receiving the updated equipment since the new technology is making their jobs easier. That is something they have not been able to take advantage of to this point.
"Some of the equipment that we had, we've had for quite some time, and the technology's changing so fast it's kind of hard for us to keep up with it," Trooper Johnson said.
Counties purchasing equipment for the GSP is not an unusual thing, said Trooper First Class Larry Schnall, the GSP spokesperson. Fines from traffic tickets go into the county's general fund, Trooper Johnson said, so sometimes the GSP asks for a little help in return.
"Ultimately, if funding is not there for more modern updated equipment through a grant that we have or our self-funded agency, then sometimes the counties will donate equipment because the main goal is the saving of lives," Trooper Schnall said. "The trooper's main area of enforcement is traffic enforcement. So if they can fund or provide us with additional high tech equipment...we will accept that to put in use for that county that did buy it."
After receiving between $20,000 and $30,000 per month in fines, McDuffie commissioners were quick to lend a hand. Columbia and Warren Counties purchased several units for the Thomson GSP office as well.