Southern Shield Cracking Down On Speeding, DUI, and Distracted Driving This Weekend

[gtxvideo vid=’9cpJXYI4′ thumb=’’ vtitle=’SOUTHERN SHIELD’]

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WOLO)–  Operation Southern Shield unites local and state law enforcement agencies to bring the number of fatal car accidents to zero. If you are planning on being on South Carolina roads this weekend make sure you are watching your speed and buckling up because otherwise, you might be seeing those flashing blue lights in your rearview mirror.

“We stop motorists and they say ‘well, I was only going 69 in a 60, I thought I had a 10 mph grace period. That’s not true,” David Jones said, a state trooper with Highway Patrol.

This is the second year South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama and Tennessee are participating in Operation Southern Shield. Officers say they can tell it’s working since there were 16 fatal accidents last year during Southern Shied week, which is significantly lower than the years before.

“And it covers speeding, distracted driving, DUI, seatbelts, basically the whole 9 yards,” Jason Stoner said, a deputy with the Lexington County Sheriff’s Department said. Last year there were more than 45,000 speed-related collisions in the state and almost 40% of all fatal accidents were speed-related. Lexington County is having a hard time battling the statistics this year.

“We have one of the highest fatality rates in the state now in Lexington County. A lot of that is because of speed, drunk driving, and also not wearing your seatbelt properly,” Stoner said.

This year there have been almost 50 fewer deaths compared to this time last year. And if you believe that speeding, or not wearing a seatbelt is something that’s only going to affect you, officers say– think again.

“I see the family that it affects, I see the loved ones who come to the funeral. I see the neighborhood who comes together and raises money for the widowed wife or father, so I see who it affects. And we hear it all the time,” Jones said.

“It is very hard for me. I’m a parent… I actually have a son who’s just getting ready to drive now. So it’s very hard on us to come to these scenes and see someone’s family member injured, let alone who has passed on. It’s very difficult,” Stoner said.

No matter the agency who pulls you over this weekend, you could be paying anywhere from $81-$400 dollars for that ticket.

Categories: Lexington, Local News, News, State