5 states in South preventing traffic incidents and fatalities through education campaign

Police have seen an alarming increase of drivers speeding over 100 mph which has prompted Operation Slow Down

ALBANY, Ga. – Those with a “need for speed” may want to stay off Georgia’s highways and interstates as the Southern Slow Down operation wraps up.

South Georgia Television News Reporter Quinlan Parker  took a ride with the Georgia State Patrol to get a better idea of high-intensity speed reduction. Within a matter of minutes Trooper Keith Oliver pulled over two drivers on U.S. 19 for going 70 in a 55 MPH speed zone.

Statistics released by the National Highway Safety Administration reveals that speed factored in 29% of total traffic fatalities in the U.S. back in 2020.

“We know that in 2020 everything was shutdown, and not many people were on the roads. Has the pandemic caused drivers to drive more recklessly?” Quinlan asked Roger Hayes, the Law Enforcement Services Director for the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety. “Yes, it has and it’s really really interesting to me. We had less miles traveled on the roadways due to the pandemic, however we saw our numbers increase.” said Hayes.

Hayes tells me that within a span of five years a total of 55,000 speeding tickets were issued to Peach State drivers during this operation. Along with 32,000 DUI arrests, coinciding with an increase in overall traffic fatalities and speeding related traffic deaths.

“The pandemic affected law enforcement agencies as well. Law enforcement agencies were not able to get out and work traffic enforcement as they have in the past, so unfortunately the motoring public saw that as almost a get out of jail free card if you would.” Hayes said.

As a result there was a 22% decline in crashes in the U.S. in 2020 from 2019 and a decrease of 11 percent in the number of miles traveled in 2020 in comparison to previous years. Yet and still 6.6 percent more people were killed in crashes in 2020 than in 2019. Roger’s only message to drivers is to pack some patience before setting out on the road.

“Schools going to be starting back soon. So you’ll have school buses out, you’ll have kids on a school and we’re coming up on the Labor Day holiday. Just everybody please, we want to end this summer on a good note rather than having to notify somebody on a bad incident.” said Hayes.

Agencies from Alabama, Florida, South Carolina and Tennessee are also apart of the Operation Slow Down. The Governor’s Office of Highway Safety have not released numbers from last week’s operation as they are still coming in. Once we have those numbers, we’ll be sure to pass them along to you.