Driv­ers who ex­ceed the speed limit are warned to slow down or be pre­pared to get pulled over

Walker County Messenger - - News -

Ge­or­gia joins neigh­bor­ing states in re­gional ef­fort to re­duce traf­fic deaths by get­ting mo­torist to obey posted speed lim­its

Mo­torists who think they drive faster than the le­gal speed limit with­out get­ting pulled over could soon see blue lights in the rearview mir­ror as Ge­or­gia joins a multi-state ef­fort to re­duce traf­fic deaths by get­ting driv­ers to fol­low the posted speed limit.

“Op­er­a­tion South­ern Shield” be­gins Mon­day, July 17 and is a week-long speed pre­ven­tion and en­force­ment ini­tia­tive on in­ter­states, ma­jor high­ways and lo­cal roads in Ge­or­gia, Alabama, Florida, South Carolina and Ten­nessee.

“When you cash a check for $50 at the bank, they don’t give you $60,” Har­ris Black­wood, Direc­tor of the Gov­er­nor’s Of­fice of High­way Safety said. “Driv­ers who ex­ceed the posted speed limit by 10 miles an hour or more in­crease their chances of be­ing in a crash be­cause the faster speeds re­duce their re­ac­tion times and abil­ity to stop sud­denly.”

In Ge­or­gia, the num­ber of speed­ing-re­lated fa­tal­i­ties has al­most dou­bled from 2012-2015. Ac­cord­ing to data from the Na­tional High­way Traf­fic Safety Ad­min­is­tra­tion (NHTSA, there were 268 speed­ing-re­lated fa­tal­i­ties in 2015 in the state, which was a 25 per­cent in­crease from 2014.

Pre­lim­i­nary num­bers from the Ge­or­gia De­part­ment of Trans­porta­tion show there were 1,561 peo­ple killed in traf­fic crashes in 2016, which is the sec­ond con­sec­u­tive year the num­ber of traf­fic deaths in the state has in­creased af­ter those num­bers had de­clined for nine straight years.

Ac­cord­ing to NHTSA, speed­ing was a fac­tor in 27 per­cent of the fa­tal crashes in the United States in 2015 that killed 9,553 peo­ple, and al­most half of the fa­tal speed­ing-re­lated crashes in the na­tion hap­pened on ru­ral non-in­ter­state roads.

NHTSA con­sid­ers a crash to be speed­ing-re­lated if any driver in­volved in the crash was charged with a speed­ing-re­lated of­fense, or if a law en­force­ment of­fi­cer found ex­ceed­ing the posted speed limit, driv­ing too fast for con­di­tions or rac­ing was a con­tribut­ing fac­tor in the crash.

“Op­er­a­tion South­ern Shield is a very worth­while en­deavor be­cause speed­ing is a ma­jor con­tribut­ing fac­tor to fa­tal crashes in the state of Ge­or­gia,” Colonel Mark McDonough, Com­mis­sioner of the Ge­or­gia De­part­ment of Pub­lic Safety said. “Our ob­jec­tive over the next week is to make the pub­lic aware and to en­cour­age them to slow down and drive safely.”

“By pub­li­ciz­ing this op­er­a­tion now, we want driv­ers across the south­east to choose on their own to obey the speed limit,” Black­wood said. “Driv­ers who fol­low the law will have noth­ing to worry about, but those who keep their foot on the ac­cel­er­a­tor run the risk of get­ting a ticket.”

Op­er­a­tion South­ern Shield” will kick off with news con­fer­ences on July 17 in all five states. The states will then work si­mul­ta­ne­ously through­out the week to en­force speed limit laws on in­ter­states, state high­ways, and lo­cal roads.

The Gov­er­nor’s Of­fice of High­way Safety’s 16 re­gional traf­fic en­force­ment net­works will be con­duct­ing speed en­force­ment pa­trols in their lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties.

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