The South Carolina Department of Public Safety kicked off a new speed enforcement campaign, Operation Southern Shield, at the South Carolina Statehouse on Monday, July 17, joining its counterparts across four other Southeastern states.
From July 17 to July 23, law enforcement serving the Southeastern states of South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Florida, and Tennessee are mobilizing to increase enforcement of speed violations, as well as driving under the influence, distracted driving, and failure to buckle up -- with the goal of achieving a zero fatality rate for the seven-day period (and beyond).
So far, 525 people have died on South Carolina roads this year, compared to 527 last year.
SCDPS Director Leroy Smith said too many lives are lost on roadways in the Southeastern United States as a result of those who violate the most basic traffic safety laws.
“It is tragic to see a summer vacation end with a highway fatality because someone chose to violate or ignore traffic laws that – if followed – could prevent crashes and save lives,” Smith said. “If the motoring public would take one important step – reduce their speed behind the wheel – we could start to see lives saved immediately on our roadways.”
Operation Southern Shield focuses on a heavy summer travel period when the rate of fatal and injury crashes within the Southeastern U.S. is higher than any other time of the year. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 37 percent of all fatal roadways collisions in South Carolina in 2015 were speed-related.
“We all know that summer brings increased congestion on our roads as residents and tourists alike enjoy all that South Carolina has to offer from the mountains to the coast,” said Highway Patrol Commander Chris Williamson. “Our goal: help people arrive alive by reducing traffic crashes, injuries, and fatalities.”
The enforcement effort is part of SCDPS’ Target Zero campaign to reduce fatalities and collisions on South Carolina’s roadways.