Trucks cause of some of the worst accidents seen on Georgia’s roads. In the case of a crash between a commercial truck and other vehicles, those in the smaller cars rarely stand a chance. Perhaps then, the answer is to remove the trucks and have fewer interactions between them and other motorists. That was the thinking behind a bill introduced by Georgian lawmakers earlier in the year.
The bill, SB23, would prohibit trucks from using Georgia as a through state. This means that if they have no business in Georgia, they are not to enter Georgia. If they are simply using the state’s roads as a through-way, they would need to find another route. Those found in violation of the law, the bill proposed, would face fines up to $1,000 and even a year in jail. The bill also stated that trucks in Georgia would be subject to inspection by any law enforcement officer to ensure they were following the law. That officer would not require a warrant to conduct a search.
“The intention of the bill was good,” says Jeff Shiver of Shiver Hamilton. “It may have gone too far, though. Nearly every state is used as a through-state and the legality of barring truck drivers to use Georgia in the same manner is questionable. It becomes even more questionable when subjecting people to warrantless searches and seizures.”
Perhaps lawmakers saw it the same way. Just as quickly as the bill was proposed, it was also withdrawn. Democratic Senator Donzella James introduced the bill along with Senators Harold Jones and Michael Rhett. Just 24 hours after putting the bill on the table, James withdrew it from consideration.
While trucks can roam freely around Georgia for the time-being, it is clear that Georgia needs a solution. Tens of thousands of trucks use State Highways 278, 411, and 27 as well as the interstates crossing through Georgia. Too often, they are involved with accidents that are fatal for those around them.
Senator James still understands this and although this bill did not go through, she continues to work on reform. Early in January, she posted on social media that the bill had been withdrawn, but that they were continuing to work on another solution that would not require legislation.