In an effort to reduce speed-related fatalities and collisions, the South Carolina Highway Patrol is one of five Southeastern states participating in Operation Southern Shield, an enforcement push focused on speeding, distracted driving, seat belt violations and driving under the influence, according to a statement from the state Department of Public Safety.
Trooper Justin Sutherland, a spokesman for Highway Patrol, said local agencies will also be participating in the operation.
Southern Shield started Sunday and will run until July 23, the statement said. The campaign is aimed at reducing traffic deaths and injuries typically seen during the summer months.
According to the statement, there were 16 deaths on the road during the week of the operation in 2017, compared to 21 the year before. The number of speed-related deaths also dropped from nine to six.
The push entails an increased law enforcement presence on the state’s roadways, Sutherland said. Sutherland said there were 45,150 speed-related collisions in South Carolina in 2017, and speeding was a factor in 36 percent of the state’s traffic deaths.
“This is going to be on all the major roadways,” he said. “It’s just an attempt by South Carolina Highway Patrol to try to decrease these heavy summer fatalities with this huge travel, high-traffic period.” Georgia, Alabama, Florida and Tennessee are also participating in the effort, the statement said. This is the second year of the operation.