Operation Southern Slow Down kicks off in five states

Published: Jul. 18, 2022 at 6:28 PM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Law enforcement agencies across five southern states including Georgia and South Carolina are keeping an extra close eye out this week for speeders, and drivers committing other traffic violations for Operation Southern Slow Down. The initiative is led in Georgia by the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety.

Savannah Police Department’s H.E.A.T. Unit is funded by the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, so this traffic enforcement initiative is right up their alley.

Their officers will be keeping a close eye on I-95 and I-16, especially in the construction zones, where drivers might not be aware of reduced speeds.

“A lot of people aren’t understanding what the GPS’s are still tracking at 70, so we just really stress that people pay attention out there with the speed limits and the construction workers that are out there, and just abide by the speed limit for us,” said Cpl. Gregory Brogcinski, with SPD’s H.E.A.T. Unit.

Savannah Police has three H.E.A.T. Unit patrol vehicles out on the streets, all dedicated to traffic enforcement and making Savannah’s roads safer.

They’ll be joining police agencies, local and state, across Georgia this week in a ramped-up traffic enforcement effort called Operation Southern Slow Down.

Today in Augusta, troopers from multiple states came together to kick off the initiative, and to talk about the issues and trends they continue to combat.

“We’ve seen, just like South Carolina, ever since COVID it seems like everybody wants to drive 100-plus miles an hour. We’ve seen it in the time that I was stationed in Madison, and it’s every other car that we stopped was traveling 105, 110, 120 miles an hour. Now, those speeds are just ludicrous,” said Georgia State Patrol SFC Kevin Pope.

That’s a trend SPD’s H.E.A.T. Unit has also been encountering.

Corporal Brogcinski said, “We thought we would see a reduction during COVID, but that didn’t seem to be the case. We actually saw a big increase in speed and DUIs. And we just anticipate that us getting out there hopefully reduce that. But it just seems like there’s been a trend that we can’t shake.”

Operation Southern Slow Down has been around for five years now.

In that time, participating officers in Georgia alone have written over 55,000 speeding tickets, and made over 3,200 DUI arrests over the week-long period.

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