The South Carolina Department of Public Safety announces that it will join five Southeastern states in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Region 4 for Operation Southern Shield – an increased enforcement effort to reduce speed-related deaths and collisions on the roadways. The campaign will run from July 14 through July 20.

The states participating include South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Florida, and Tennessee. Operation Southern Shield also has been added as a component to SCDPS’ annual Target Zero (Law Enforcement) Challenge, with local law enforcement agencies across the state participating.

In 2018, there were 44,810 speed-related collisions on South Carolina roadways, and more than 36% of all fatal roadway collisions in South Carolina were speed-related.

So far this year, 492 people have died on South Carolina roads, compared to 529 last year.

Operation Southern Shield was developed by NHTSA Region 4 in 2017 and focuses on the heavy summer travel period when the rate of fatal and injury crashes within the Southeastern United States is higher than any other time of the year.

During the 2018 week of enforcement (July 14-21) there were seven speed-related deaths on South Carolina roads, compared to 10 during a comparable week in 2016 (prior to the implementation of the campaign). There was also a reduction in total fatalities, from 21 to 18, during the same period. A total number of 6,367 speeding citations were issued by state and reporting local law enforcement agencies in July 2018.

For the 2019 campaign, SCDPS has produced two new paid social media ads, focusing on speed enforcement for Facebook and Instagram. The ads focus on the personal consequences of speeding and feature the tagline, “Speeding takes you nowhere fast.”

In addition to the paid media, South Carolina Highway Patrol (SCHP), Georgia State Patrol (GSP), and local law enforcement will join at a press event to educate the public about the effort. Speakers will include SCDPS Office of Highway Safety and Justice Programs Special Programs Manager Capt. Russell Wilson; SCHP Cpl. Judd Jones; Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety Director Allen Poole; GSP Lt. Maurice Raines; and NHTSA Regional Program Administrator Sandy Richardson. The press event will take place at 11 a.m. on July 18 at the Georgia I-20 Welcome Center in Augusta.

The “Arrive Alive. Don’t Speed.” message will also be displayed on SCDOT message boards throughout the state. All messaging will run through July 20.

Operation Southern Shield is part of SCDPS’ Target Zero campaign to reduce fatalities and collisions on South Carolina’s roadways.