New HEAT Patrol Warning Drivers, Slow Down - WJBF-TV ABC 6 Augusta-Aiken

New HEAT Patrol Warning Drivers, Slow Down

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Augusta, GA - Aggressive drivers may want to slow down and buckle up.  That’s the warning from a new law enforcement team patrolling Richmond County highways.  Some roads are literally at a standstill at the close of business, such as Wrightsboro Rd. and River Watch Parkway.  Despite the bottle neck traffic, people still speed. 

“They do a little speeding over 55.  When I was coming, I was up there to about 60,” said Augusta resident Barry Phillips.

Richmond County Sheriff's Office is putting three new Dodge Chargers on the road targeting those behind the wheel not following the law.

Traffic Commander Lt. Ramone Lamkin said the three man team is a new division called HEAT or Highway Enforcement of Aggressive Traffic.  He said it targets people breaking the law.

 “Not wearing a seatbelt, you get ejected from the vehicle [and that] could lead to fatalities.   Speeding vehicles going at a high rate of speed could have a crash [and that] could lead to a fatality or impaired drivers.  All those things are contributing factors to the crashes,” Lt. Lamkin said.

HEAT stems from Operation Thunder.  Lt. Lamkin said the Governor's Office of Highway Safety provided the $625,000  grant for a three year period to reduce the growing number unrestrained children and adults as well as drivers under the influence.

Deputies were out on Riverwatch Parkway and River Shoals Parkway tracking speeders and ticketing drivers not wearing a seatbelt.  Good news for some who frequently drive the highway.

“It's here to protect us, but we got a lot of people that get a little distracted when they're driving,” said Tyler Hollis, an Augusta resident.

“I think it's a good idea because I see a lot of aggressive drivers, especially out this way,” said Augusta resident Ronnie Lewis.

HEAT has been in operation since November.  Lt. Lamkin said Riverwatch is just one of the many areas that police will be stationed at to keep drivers safe in Richmond County.

“Curves, the amount of traffic that's stopping in front of you, Riverwatch can be very busy, especially during Masters time.  Riverwatch can be very congested.  If you come in there going 80mph the potential for something bad to happen is actually enhanced,” Lt. Lamkin said.

The cars are similar to the others, but the technology has been upgraded. Lt. Lamkin said two deputies and one supervisor will operate the HEAT team. 

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