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‘Operation Southern Slow Down’ kicks off in region

By SERINA MARSHALL
Staff Writer [email protected]

“Operation Southern Slow Down” launched July 18 in five Southeastern States in a regional effort to reduce speeding.

The Tennessee Highway Safety Office joined the efforts alongside Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina in a speed enforcement and education campaign for safety that will run from July 18 – 24.

“We take speeding seriously in Washington County. Our deputies are always on the lookout and we make a point of running radar on county roads that we know are favorites for speeders,” said Washington County Sheriff Keith Sexton. “I en- courage everyone to watch their speed and slow down, not just during ‘Operation Southern Slow Down,’ but every day.”

State troopers and local law enforcement officers will conduct concentrated enforcement on interstates and state highways in these five states for the entire week in a team effort to stop the increase in drivers traveling at speeds well above the legal limit.

Even in Jonesborough, Mayor Chuck Vest said there is a need to control the speeding that happens within the town limits.

“It’s obvious driving the posted speed limit saves lives and makes streets safer. One good example for Jonesborough is the inter- section of Boones Creek Road and Forest Drive leading to Food City. At the posted 30 mph, the inter- section works much like a traffic circle, allowing cars to turn from and enter the roadway safely without the need for a traffic signal,” Vest explained. “Ideally, law enforcement will give warnings to first time offenders but accountability to the worst offenders.”

Law enforcement agencies in the Southeast and across the nation have seen a substantial increase in the number of vehicles traveling at speeds above 100 miles per hour in the last two years, according to the Tennessee Highway Safety Office.

“Speeding drivers are almost three times more likely to be involved in fatal or serious-injury crashes,” said Buddy Lewis, director of the Tennessee Office of Highway Safety. “Speeding increases the risk of losing control of your vehicle and threatens the safety of everyone around you. All we ask is for voluntary compliance to ensure everyone can make it home safely.”

According to the Nation- al Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the United States has seen an increase in overall traffic fatalities and speed-related traffic deaths in the last two years. Even though there was a 22 percent decline in total traffic crashes in the United States in 2020 compared to 2019 and an 11 percent decrease in the number miles traveled in the country in 2020 compared to the previous year, the number of persons killed in crashes in the U.S. in 2020 increased by 6.6. percent compared to 2019.

“The majority of people driving in a safe and legal manner should not have to worry about their safety from selfish drivers show no regard for their safety and the safety of others with their disregard for speed limits and other highway safety laws,” said Allen Poole, director of the Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety. “Georgia is once again ready to work with our friends in our neighboring states to protect all road users by putting these dangerous drivers on the shoulder of the road and issuing them a ticket.”