Authorities in Southeast targeting speeders

Authorities across the southeast are targeting speeding motorists a part of a major crackdown.

The week-long “Operation Southern Shield,” a speed prevention and enforcement initiative, kicked off yesterday. The program focuses 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 in a news release. “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 nearly 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, officials said.

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 these figures 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.

“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.”

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