My question involves a traffic ticket from the state of: Georgia
I was recently ticketed for passing a school bus on Athens Hwy in Loganville, GA, a 5 lane highway with the center being a dedicated turning lane. The images show that the sign had been active for 3.2 seconds (for some reason it also says the bus breaks were not active but the video clearly shows it was for around 8 seconds before the bus began moving again). In the 11 seconds the bus was stopped, I don't believe any children exited the vehicle and there are no schools or homes at that location of the highway.
I understand the full seriousness of this and take it as such. That being said, I also believe in justice and to me, being given less than 4 seconds to respond to a bus stopping seems unfair.
At 55 mph and given 3.2 seconds to react and safely stop, do I have a chance? I did the math and some research showing the average stopping distance at 55 mph is 265 feet. The Georgia drivers manual doesn't show 55 mph but specifically states the "estimated emergency stopping distance" for 60 mph is almost 400 feet. If you calculate the mph to feet per second for the first image on my ticket, it works out to 258 feet as the safe stopping distance. I know this is nitpicking but isn't that what the law is about? I also looked over the video very carefully and the "clock" starts when the sign begins to open so at least 1 full second of the 3.2 seconds that I was failing to stop is just the sign slowly coming out.
What it also comes down to is this, I don't even know if I was driving that day. I lend my truck regularly to several different people, including two law enforcement officers. Not much of an excuse, I know, but the burden SHOULD be theirs (but probably isn't.. funny how they can work around that when needed). I also have the right to face my accuser but know full well that the officer who viewed the video and signed the ticket won't be there.
This is my first driving offense ever (I've been driving for 24 years) and honestly, with Georgia making all traffic offenses misdemeanors, I really don't want this on my record at all. I have one week to prepare for court and honestly, I refuse to hire a lawyer that will charge me the same, if not more.
Anyone have some magical thoughts? Thank you.