SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — The National Highway Safety Administration is warning the road runners of the Southeast.
The administration has partnered with Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, Florida and South Carolina Highway Safety Patrols to construct Operation Southern Shield.
Operation Southern Shield is an initiative that focuses on getting drivers to slow down when on they are on the roads. Speed is the main concern when it comes to safety in these states.
Some officers have seen a drastic change over the week. “Coming up from Florida to Savannah we’ve noticed a slight change in some of the driving behavior of commuters. This can most likely be contributed to the visual of people seeing officers on the road and slowing down,” Florida State Patrol Major Steven Harris said.
In 2016, a Huffington Post article was released with the top 10 most dangerous states to drive in; Alabama was ranked a number eight and South Carolina at number seven.
According to South Carolina Highway Safety Patrol “In South Carolina, speeding is one of the top causations on killing people for years. Speeding, DUI, not wearing a seatbelt.”
Last year, 516 people died in South Carolina from car accidents. 171 of those people were not wearing seat belts. 506 people have died so far this year.
In 2016, 767 people died in Georgia. 59 percent of those people were not wearing seat belts- that’s more than half. Since January of 2017, 813 died.
According to Lieutenant Thornell King, of Georgia State Patrol, “Since 2015 that has increased 50 percent. Those numbers are astounding numbers and we don’t need to hear them.”
The state has already exceeded the amount of deaths in car accidents from last year only seven months into the year.
“We’re not trying to write tickets we’re trying to get to get you to slow down. But guess what if you don’t slow down we will write you a ticket,” Director of the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, Harris Blackwood said.
The public can expect to see highway patrol on major highways and back roads.
“I-95, we’ll be there from south of the border all the way down to Miami going through Georgia and Florida,” Sergeant Beres said.
The initiative will commence on Monday, July 17 and conclude on July 23.
“We don’t want to end it there. Like I said we want to continue on through the rest of the year through the next year, throughout the rest of… for a long time. We want it to continue because we want to make sure lives are being saved and people are paying attention and being safe,” Brent Kelly, South Carolina Law Enforcement Liasion said.