You might want to watch your speed as you’re driving this week as law enforcement officers in five southern states are cracking down on speeders.
State troopers and local officers in Georgia and other states are participating in a speed enforcement campaign called Operation Southern Shield 2019.
The campaign starts today and goes through July 21 in Georgia, Alabama, Florida, South Carolina and Tennessee. Law enforcement officers in these states will join forces on interstates and other major highways to target drivers who endanger the safety of others on the road by speeding.
“The mission for us is the same in our neighboring states and that is to save lives on our roads by preventing traffic crashes,” said Allen Poole, director of the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety. “Working together in Operation Southern Shield has saved lives and we want everyone who is traveling in the Southeast to know that if you are driving over the speed limit, you’re more than likely going to get pulled over and handed a ticket.”
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, speeding has been a factor in nearly one-third of all traffic deaths in the U.S. over the last two decades. In 2017, speeding killed 9,717 people, which was about 26% of nationwide traffic fatalities that year.
During the first Operation Southern Shield in 2017, there was a 51% decrease in traffic fatalities on Georgia roads for the same seven-day period the year before.
Preliminary numbers from the Georgia Department of Transportation show there were 268 speed-related fatalities statewide in 2018, which is an 8% increase from the 248 speeding fatalities the previous year.
State and local officers with 224 law enforcement agencies in Georgia wrote more than 11,000 citations during last year’s Southern Shield and 75% of the citations were issued for speeding. Officers wrote 8,435 speeding citations, 3,070 seat belt citations, 624 distracted driving citations and took 566 suspected DUI drivers off the road in a seven-day period.
Other participating states report similar results.