COLUMBIA – The South Carolina Department of Public Safety (SCDPS) joins four other Southeastern states for “Operation Southern Slow Down” in an effort to curb excessive speeding on the highways. The weeklong campaign officially begins Monday in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and Tennessee.
A joint press conference between South Carolina and Georgia law enforcement agencies is scheduled for Monday, July 17, at 10 a.m. The press conference will be at the Fort Gordon Visitor Control Center at Gate 6, located on Gordon Highway in Augusta, GA. The press event will kick off the enforcement and education campaign for South Carolina and Georgia.
During each state’s enforcement period, state troopers, officers with State Transport Police and local law enforcement officers will concentrate enforcement efforts on interstates and state highways to stop the increase in drivers traveling at speeds well above the legal limit. Motorists in South Carolina can expect to see increased presence and enforcement from the SC Highway Patrol and SC State Transport Police along the state’s major interstates from July 17 – July 23.
In addition to enforcement, SCDPS will run its “Slow down, speed kills” paid media campaign throughout the month on social media, YouTube, and billboards.
There were 12,330 speeding-related deaths in the U.S. in 2021, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). In the same year, speeding was a contributing factor in 29 % of all traffic fatalities, meaning that nearly one out of every three people killed in a traffic collision involved a speeding vehicle. Data from NHTSA also shows that 2021 is the third consecutive year with an increase in speeding-related deaths.
“We are proud to once again work with our Southeastern state and local partners during this Operation Southern Slow Down enforcement period,” said Robert G. Woods, IV, Director of the SC Department of Public Safety. “Our troopers and STP officers will focus on reducing the deadly driving behaviors, such as speeding and aggressive driving, that contributed to approximately two out of every five deaths last year during the ‘100 Deadly Days of Summer.’ Although South Carolina has seen fewer highway fatalities than in years past, we continue to work tirelessly to educate the public and promote safer driving habits."
"It is easy to focus on the importance of where we are going when we are behind the wheel but we do not realize everyone on the road is also trying to get somewhere and driving at slower speeds will help you and everyone safely reach their destination on every trip," said Allen Poole, Director of the Georgia Governor's Office of Highway Safety. “The data from the last two years has shown that driving at higher speeds does lead to more lives lost on our highways and eliminating traffic deaths from illegal and dangerous driving behaviors is the top priority in this campaign.”
This annual enforcement effort began in 2017 and focuses on proactive speed enforcement. The campaign occurs during the 100 Deadly Days of Summer, a period between Memorial Day and Labor Day when traffic fatalities typically increase.
In 2022, speed was a contributing factor in 10,818 collisions and 131 fatalities during South Carolina’s 100 Deadly Days of Summer period, a decrease of about 9 and 11 % respectively.
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.