Watch your Speed on Highway 246

Motorists are being warned to watch their speed when driving on Highway 246 in Sky Valley.  Thanks to some new equipment, the Sky Valley Police Department is now monitoring the road much more closely looking for speeders and other traffic violators, explains Chief Vaughn Etes.  “A couple of months back we bought some new radar units for our cars. The ones that were here when I got here were very antiquated, so it took us a little time to get some money to get our units equipped.  The main reason why we chose to do that is the most common complaint that we get here as an agency is about Highway 246. People don’t feel safe on it and we have numerous accidents on it as everyone well knows, but aggressive driving going down the hill, things like tailgating, etc.  Also, people coming up the mountain, people tailgating coming up, that is another popular complaint, passing sometimes three cars wide in some of the curves, actually in the curves. So, we get a lot of complaints from people on this road, we have multiple accidents. For the first two years that I was here, we monitored the road because when I first came here I was hit with one of our primary concerns is Highway 246.  For two years we kept stats and after a year we purchased a radar sign that automatically keeps the stats for us. The sign consistently has an 80-90% violation rate of vehicles doing at least 15-20mph over the speed limit. So, using all the information that we have gathered we decided we were going to have to step it up to the next level and we started writing a few tickets using our radar devices. It has made a difference but based on the statistics that our sign still keeps for us, if we are not present the violation rates automatically go right back up.  So, it has made a difference, but it hasn’t made a lasting difference because, just like most other locations, active patrol and high visibility of vehicles being seen seems to be the answer to the situation. So, that is what we are trying to do, get people to slow down, use caution, and cut down on the number of accidents and complaints that we are getting out there and let our presence be known a little more than it has historically been and that seems to be making a difference.” The Sky Valley Police Department does not set speed limits or traffic standards on Highway 246.  It is the responsibility of the Georgia Department of Transportation to establish speed limits and traffic standards on all state roads and highways.