The Georgia State Patrol and local law enforcement agencies will work to cut down on speeding next week with the third annual “Operation Southern Shield” campaign.
Officers in Georgia, Alabama, Florida, South Carolina and Tennessee will be on interstates and other major highways July 15-21 to target drivers going well above posted speed limits.
“The mission for us is the same in our neighboring states and that is to save lives on our roads by preventing traffic crashes,” Governor’s Office of Highway Safety Director Allen Poole said in a statement. “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.”
Preliminary numbers from the Georgia Department of Transportation show there were 268 speed-related deaths in Georgia in 2018. That is an 8% increase from the 248 speeding fatalities in 2017.
“The goal of Southern Shield is to not write a lot of tickets but to show drivers how speeding drastically increases their chances of being in a crash,” Poole said. “We are warning drivers now so those who do not want to see blue lights in the rearview mirror will follow the speed limit, wear their seat belt, and drive alert and sober."
During last year’s Operation Southern Shield, which also occurred in mid-July, officers with 224 agencies in Georgia wrote more than 11,000 citations, and 75% of those citations were for speeding. Officers issued 8,435 speeding citations, 3,070 seat belt citations, 624 distracted driving citations and took 566 suspected intoxicated drivers off the road in a seven-day period.
“Troopers across the state are preparing to heavily enforce the laws regarding speeding and aggressive driving during Operation Southern Shield,” Col. Mark W. McDonough, Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Safety, said in a statement. “We always enjoy partnering with other law enforcement agencies in an effort to make traveling on our roadways safer. This partnership will focus on reducing speeds which will ultimately reduce the number of traffic crashes.”