Operation Southern Shield Saving Lives

It’s possible you might not have noticed—but five southeastern states put a week-long program in place in order to reduce automotive crashes and traffic fatalities. “Operation Southern Shield” began on Monday, July 17, 2017, and ran for a week in South Carolina, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and Tennessee. The campaign’s purpose was to decrease the number of drivers who were impaired, distracted, speeding, and not using their seat belts while on the road.

However, simply issuing tickets was not the ultimate goal of the program. The point of “Operation Southern Shield” is for you to slow down and thereby prevent crashes and save lives. To that end, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) funded extra patrols. The height of summer was chosen as the time frame because the number of drivers on our roads swells because of summer travel.

Speeding Traffic Fatalities in South Carolina

A May 2016 article ranked South Carolina as the seventh most-dangerous state in which to drive. That’s not a ranking we should be proud of. But this ranking was a composite created from several numbers. How do they break down?

The statistics from the NHTSA for 2014 list all traffic fatalities at 32,675, with 28 percent of deaths—9,262—occurring because of speeding. In South Carolina, the percentage is higher. During 2014, 37 percent, or 305 persons, of 2014 total traffic deaths were caused by speeding. Among the 50 states and the District of Columbia, we ranked 6th in 2014, tied with North Carolina in terms of the percentage of accidents due to speeding.

Other 2014 speeding statistics include the following data regarding traffic deaths:

  • Fatal crashes occurred most often with young drivers. Speeding drivers aged 15-20 were responsible for 36 percent of all fatal traffic crashes in their age group. Speeding drivers aged 21-24 were responsible for 34 percent.
  • Drivers in fatal crashes who were speeding had a blood alcohol content (BAC) above the legal limit (.08 or higher) more than twice as often as drivers who were not speeding.
  • The age group with the highest percentage of speeding, alcohol-impaired drivers in fatal crashes was 25-34. Fully half (50 percent) of speeding drivers in this age group had BACs of .08 or above.
  • The percentage of drivers in deadly crashes with a BAC of .08 or more was highest from midnight to 2:59 a.m. Whether speeding (67 percent) or not (43 percent), this time period was when the highest proportion of deadly, alcohol-impaired wrecks occurred.

The Upshot

As of mid-July 2017, 525 persons had died on our roads in SC. In 2016 this time last year, the number of fatalities was slightly higher at 527. South Carolina Highway Patrol Commander Chris Williamson noted, “We all know that summer brings increased congestion on our roads as residents and tourists alike enjoy all that South Carolina has to offer from the mountains to the coast. Our goal: help people arrive alive by reducing traffic crashes, injuries, and fatalities.”

However, we have some good news: It looks as if the week-long effort of “Operation Southern Shield” has borne fruit. In Georgia, there were 17 traffic fatalities during the seven-day period, down from the 35 deaths that occurred in the seven days immediately before the operation. While we do not have the figures for South Carolina, all the participating states have reported that they have seen similar results.

Justice. Delivered.

Have you been in an accident where the other party was at fault, whether because of speeding, DUI, distraction, or other reason? The South Carolina vehicular accident lawyers at the Louthian Law Firm have represented injured South Carolinians in personal injury suits since 1959. With our firm on the case, you can rest assured that you’ll get the personalized attention you deserve. If you or a loved one has been seriously injured or killed in a vehicular accident in which the other party was at fault, South Carolina law entitles you to hold that party legally responsible for your medical expenses and vehicle repair bills, as well as any lost wages and other financial losses. You may also seek compensation for pain and suffering or loss of comfort, care and companionship of a loved one. The deadline for filing a claim is already running, so contact the Louthian Law Firm for help by calling us at 1-803-454-1200. If you prefer, you can fill out our online contact form.