ATLANTA — Operation Southern Shield, which hopes to pull speeders to a screeching halt, will begin on Monday. 

From July 15 until July 21, police will be filling interstates and highways on Monday to crack down on speeding drivers.

Police in Georgia, Alabama, Florida, South Carolina and Tennessee will participate.

Operation Southern Shield is the third annual initiative by Southern police to prove the correlation between speeding and traffic accidents. 

State and local officers with 224 law enforcement agencies in Georgia wrote more than 11,000 citations during last year’s Southern Shield and 75 percent of the citations were issued for speeding. Officers wrote 8,435 speeding citations, 3,070 seat belt citations, 624 distracted driving citations and took 566 suspected DUI drivers off the road in a seven-day period.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, speeding has been a factor in nearly one-third of all traffic deaths in the United States over the last two decades. In 2017, speeding killed 9,717 people, which was about 26 percent of nationwide traffic fatalities that year.

According to the Georgia Department of Transportation, 1,514 people died in fatal crashes last year, making an average of 4 deaths per day due to car accidents. Over 70% of those accidents were caused by distracted driving, impairment, and driving too fast for the area. 

Preliminary numbers from the Georgia Department of Transportation show there were 268 speed-related fatalities statewide in 2018, which is an eight percent increase from the 248 speeding fatalities the previous year.

Georgia Highway Patrol and Police are hoping to significantly decrease these numbers with Operation Southern Shield and prove that slower is safer. 

“The goal of Southern Shield is to not write a lot of tickets but to show drivers how speeding drastically increases their chances of being in a crash,” Governor’s Office of Highway Safety Director Allen Poole said. “We are warning drivers now so those who do not want to see blue lights in the rearview mirror will follow the speed limit, wear their seat belt, and drive alert and sober."

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