Traffic

Cops are cracking down on speeding on SC roads. You’ve been warned

In this file photo, a police officer talks with a motorist that he pulled over for speeding.
In this file photo, a police officer talks with a motorist that he pulled over for speeding. rlahser@charlotteobserver.com

You have been warned.

That’s the message law enforcement across South Carolina is sharing with drivers after announcing it is participating in an initiative to crack down on speeding.

“If you are pulled over next week, don’t ask for a warning because this is it,” said Harris Blackwood, director of the Georgia Office of Highway Safety, WALB.com reported.

South Carolina and four other Southeastern states are participating in Operation Southern Shield — an effort to reduce speed-related deaths and collisions on the roadways, according to the S.C. Department of Public Safety.

The goal behind the increased enforcement is to target drivers who are speeding, distracted, fail to use seat belts or are driving under the influence.

“If you go to the bank and take out $50, they’re not going to give you $60,” said Sgt. Bob Beres, of the South Carolina Highway Patrol, according to WYFF-4.com. “We have what’s called an absolute speed law, and whatever the sign says, that’s what it needs to be.”

A Raleigh video about what motorists should expect when stopped says you should answer all questions from an officer. But the state's driver's license handbook points out you are not legally required to answer questions after identifying yourself.

Some drivers might have already noticed the increased presence of law enforcement patrolling area highways, interstates and other roadways. Operation Southern Shield began Sunday and will be enforced though Monday.

Others might find out about the initiative the hard way, as lights flash blue or red in their rearview mirrors.

But that is the alternative the S.C. Department of Public Safety prefers over responding to a crash.

In 2017, there were 45,156 speed-related collisions on S.C. roads, according to the SCDPS, which said nearly 38 percent of all fatal collisions in S.C. were speed-related.

To date this year, SCDPS reports that 507 people have died on S.C. roads, compared to 556 last year.

The Bluffton Police Department and the Beaufort County Sheriff's Office are cracking down on traffic violations along U.S. 278 and S.C. 170 during a four-day operation in light the two recent fatal crashes.

This is the second year of Operation Southern Shield, and initial results showed it was effective. During last year’s program, 16 people died in crashes, compared to 21 during a comparable week in 2016, according to SCDPS.

In addition to South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Florida and Tennessee also are participating in Operation Southern Shield.

“Highway safety doesn’t stop in the city limits, the county lines or the state line,” Blackwood said, according to WYFF-4.com. “Our neighbors in South Carolina and Tennessee and Alabama and Florida are just as committed to highway safety as we are in Georgia.”

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