GA/SC (WJBF) – Drivers who feel the need to speed are urged to slow down or expect blue lights in their rear view mirror during “Operation Southern Slow Down.” Formerly known as “Operation Southern Shield,” the week-long speed enforcement and education campaign returns in five Southeastern states.

During each state’s enforcement period, state troopers and local law enforcement officers in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and Tennessee will conduct concentrated enforcement on interstates and state highways to stop the increase in drivers traveling at speeds well above the legal limit.

Law enforcement in the Southeast and across the nation have seen a substantial increase in the number of vehicles traveling at speeds over 100 mph in the past two years.

In the same timeframe, the United States has seen an increase in overall traffic fatalities and speed-related traffic deaths, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Despite a 22 percent decline in total traffic crashes and an 11 percent decrease in the number of miles traveled in the country in 2020, the number of people killed in crashes in the U.S. increased by 6.6 percent compared to 2019. 

Speed was a factor in 29 percent of total traffic fatalities in the U.S. in 2020, a 3 percent increase from the previous year. The number of people killed in crashes involving speeding increased by 17 percent in 2020.

NHTSA offers the following safety reminders: 

  • The necessary stopping distance quadruples every time a driver doubles their speed. 
  • Allow more stopping time for bigger vehicles, or when traveling downhill on wet or uneven pavement.  
  • Apply the brakes before entering a curve. 
  • Set a good example for young drivers by driving at the speed limit. 
  • If speeding drivers are following too closely, allow them to pass.  
  • Always wear a seat belt