A House committee narrowly approved a bill that would give speeders an extra 5-miles-per-hour cushion before facing higher insurance premiums.
The House Insurance Committee, in a 6-5 vote, approved a measure that would allow speeders to drive up to 15-miles-per hour faster than the posted limit before getting insurance points on their licenses. Now, the limit is 10 miles or less before insurance points are assessed.
Rep. Tim Spear, the Washington County Democrat who sponsored the bill, said the higher speed would help clear courts on traffic days because drivers would no longer be lining up to convince district attorneys to reduce their tickets so they can avoid higher insurance charges.
Speeders now miss work to stand in long lines to try to get their 68-in-a-55 tickets reduced to 64 miles per hour, Spear said.
Opponents, including insurance companies and some committee members, said the insurance points are a deterent, and that it was a bad time talk about going easier on speeders the same week Wake three teenagers died in an high-speed accident.
"I think this spreads the wrong message," said Rep. Darren Jackson, a Wake County Democrat.
AAA Carolinas and insurance company representatives said the insurance surcharges help discourage speeding.
David Stoller, a State Farm lobbyist and a father of three, said forcing a young driver to go to court and stand in line teaches a lesson about the consequences of risky behavior.
Spear disagreed. "I have a hard time understanding how (license points) relate to safety," he said.