Updated:PALMETTO, Ga. - Some drivers in Palmetto are furious about receiving expensive traffic tickets for making a left turn into a convenience store, but city officials said it's all in the interest of safety.
Several viewers told Channel 2's John Bachman they have received $200 fines for turning left from the northbound lanes of Highway 29 into a gas station that sits just a few yards north of Palmetto Cascade Road in south Fulton County. A left turn into the northbound lane is also prohibited when exiting the store.
Drivers Being Ticketed For Turning Down Road They've Traveled For Years
"It's caused a lot of problems in the community. We don't understand it," driver Mike Gibby told Bachman.
Channel 2 Action News cameras recorded driver after driver making the illegal turn on Monday afternoon, including a Fulton County police officer.
A Fulton County spokeswoman told Bachman the officer was answering a call, but video showed the officer driving without his lights and sirens on.
According to Palmetto City Manager Terry Todd, yellow markings in the road have always made the left turn illegal. Todd said when the city started strictly enforcing it they put up large no left turn signs to make it very clear to drivers.
"All of our actions were associated with trying to make that intersection safe," said Todd.
The city manager said traffic has increased on Highway 29 in the last few years, making the turns more dangerous. He acknowledges that the crackdown is inconvenient for customers.
"In our determination, we'd rather have you safe than save you that 30 seconds. Convenience doesn't count," said Todd.
Todd said drivers had a two-month grace period before police started issuing tickets, but that did not satisfy some who have made the left turn for years.
"I don't think it's fair. My grandma's been living here for 15 years. We've been making that turn forever. Never had that problem out here," said driver Ron Strickland.