|‘Operation Southern Shield’ was a big success in saving lives on Georgia highways and roads. The multi-state speeding awareness and enforcement operation took place July 17-23 in Georgia, Alabama, Florida, South Carolina and Tennessee.
According to preliminary numbers from the Georgia Department of Transportation, there have been 17 traffic deaths reported so far in Georgia during the seven-day operation.
That is a 51% decrease from the 35 fatalities that were reported to GDOT for the same seven-day period in the week before “Operation Southern Shield” and a 45% reduction from the 31 traffic deaths that were reported for July 3-9.
Other states who participated in “Operation Southern Shield” are seeing similar results.
“The deaths of 17 people on our roads is nothing to celebrate,” Roger Hayes, Governor’s Office of Highway Safety Law Enforcement Services Director said. “The results from last week do support what we have been saying for years. Obeying the speed limit and staying focused on the road while driving saves lives.”
Not all drivers it seems got the message about “Operation Southern Shield” as preliminary numbers show the Georgia Department of Public Safety and local law enforcement agencies combined to make more than 6,900 traffic stops during the week.
The Georgia State Patrol reports their troopers issued 8,183 warnings and 7,473 citations for traffic offenses during the week. Troopers wrote 3,287 speeding citations, 602 seat belt citations, and took 224 drunk and impaired drivers off the road.
Preliminary numbers from sheriff’s deputies and police departments in the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety’s 16 regional traffic enforcement networks show 3,427 speeding contacts were made where a warning or citation was issued. Local law enforcement officers also issued warnings and citations for 3,416 other traffic offenses including 364 seat belts and made 76 DUI arrests.
“Everywhere we traveled last week, the overall speed on the road was slower than what we usually see,” Hayes said. “Law enforcement cannot be everywhere at once, and we need drivers to continue to drive at safe speeds and keep their full attention on what is happening on the road.”
“Operation Southern Shield” raised awareness of the danger of speeding on our roads, which the National Transportation Safety Board said this week is needed more in the United States.
The NTSB study of traffic data from 2005-2014 found that just as many people died in the United States from speeding-related crashes as those who died in crashes involving alcohol, and speeding increases the chances of motorists being severely injured or killed in a crash.
The NTSB report finds that elevating the problem of speeding with other dangerous driving behaviors such as impaired, distracted and drowsy driving is essential in the goal of reaching zero traffic deaths in our nation.