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Law enforcement agencies across the southeast team up to reduce speeding

Posted at 7:16 AM, Jul 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-18 08:16:31-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF)  — There’s been an increase in traffic fatalities across the country.

According to state data, 660 people have died in car crashes in Tennessee this year. Many times, speed played a factor in the crashes.

Starting Monday, five southeastern states – Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and Tennessee – will participate in “Operation Southern Slow Down.” State troopers and local law enforcement officers will conduct concentrated enforcement on interstates and state highways in these five states this week in a team effort to curb speeding.

Law enforcement agencies report they’ve seen an increase in the number of vehicles traveling at speeds above 100 miles per hour in the last two years.

Officers are hoping during this week they can save lives and remind people how dangerous it can be when you don’t watch your speed.

Tennessee Highway Safety Office found speeding drivers are almost three times more likely to be involved in fatal or serious-injury crashes.

Senior Law Enforcement Liaison Steve Dillard, with the Tennessee Highway Safety Office, said the pandemic can be blamed for a lot of these bad driving habits. He said COVID-19 also made it difficult for police departments to be fully staffed.

“Their resources were getting lower because of sickness or staffing issues. I think people got it in their mind the police are not out on the road as much as what they were originally,” he said. “Our law enforcement officers are back at work. They're back on those highways, those roadways, and those back roads. They're going to be out doing their job as far as radar. Also, looking for those aggressive drivers and addressing those violations, as they deem fit.”

In the past, agencies have seen some positive results from Operation Southern Slow Down. From 2017 through 2020, the initiative saw a 2% reduction in traffic deaths and a 14% reduction in speed-related traffic deaths from the week before to the week of this enforcement.

Dillard said speeding is preventable and can help you avoid crashing. He added that crashes happen at the speed limit and below it, but your survival rate decreases when go above the speed limit.

“Driving at speeds higher than the posted speed limit is going to do one thing. It’s going to get you in a crash and get you stopped by law enforcement. It could also mean something detrimental for your family or to some innocent family that didn't deserve what happened,” Dillard said.

He said to avoid getting pulled over by an officer remember to slow down, don’t be distracted behind the wheel, always wear your seat belt.