Once again, several southern states are teaming up this week in an attempt to curb speeding and reduce fatalities.
The fifth annual Operation Southern Shield will take place in Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama, Florida and Tennessee this week through July 24. Officers in all five states will target speeding tickets on highways, major highways and local roads.
“This week, state soldiers and local law enforcement officers will be fully deployed to enforce the highway laws of the five states,” said Allen Poole, director of the governor’s office of highway safety. “The most effective way to reduce accidents and save lives is for people to drive responsibly.
Road accidents have increased during the COVID-19 pandemic in Georgia and across the country. This year, the number of road fatalities is much higher than in the first half of last year and is the highest since 2007.
There have already been over 850 road fatalities in the first six months of 2021 in Georgia, which is a 21% increase over road fatalities in the first six months of 2020. That is the first time that more than 800 people are killed in traffic. crashes in Georgia in the first half since 2007, said Poole.
Poole said there had been numerous instances where state soldiers caught people 20, 30 or even more miles per hour over the speed limit.
The increase is not limited to Georgia. Carmen Hayes, regional administrator for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, said about 38,680 road fatalities occurred in 2020, a 7.2% increase from 2019.
We saw a worrying increase in the number of fatalities on our roads last year, even as fewer people were on the road, ”said Hayes. “It’s more than numbers. These are people who lost their lives on our roads, people who will be missed. by their families, by their friends. As a society, we must not accept any deaths on our roads. ”
Georgia State Patrol Lt. Mark Riley said there were 285 speed-related deaths in 2020, a 9% increase from 2019, with 150 more deaths suspected of being related to speed.
NHTSA data shows Operation Southern Shield was effective in reducing the number of speed-related deaths each year in Georgia by comparing the second week of July to the third week of July, when the operation typically takes place. .
- 2017 – 41 deaths in the second week, up to 22 in the third week
- 2018 – 32 deaths in week 2, up to 29 in week 3
- 2019 – 35 deaths in the second week, up to 24 in the third week
- 2020 – 49 deaths in the second week, up to 28 in the third week
During last year’s operation, Riley said more than 217 agencies in Georgia wrote more than 33,000 citations, including 39% for speeding, 2,187 for seat belt violation, 1,928 for distracted driving and 878 for impaired driving. Poole said the goal and mission continues to be to reduce fatalities to zero.
“We will continue the mission until we reach a realistic goal of reducing traffic fatalities on our roads to zero,” he said.