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'Operation Southern Shield' | South Carolina Highway Patrol cracking down on speeding this summer

Operation Southern Shield seeks to eliminate crashes and deaths on South Carolina highways caused by speeding drivers.

FORT MILL, S.C. — If you're driving through South Carolina, the state has a simple message: Don't speed. 

South Carolina Highway Patrol is working to cut down on deaths and wrecks on Palmetto State highways this week. It's all part of Operation Southern Shield, which is an effort to reduce speed-related crashes and deaths. The initiative runs through July 24. 

The South Carolina Department of Public Safety is partnering with four other Southern states: Alabama, Georgia, Florida and Tennessee to crack down on drivers going too fast with proactive enforcement of speeding violations. 

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“Speeding endangers everyone on the road,” said Carmen Hayes, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) regional administrator. “It endangers not only the life of the speeder but all of the people on the road around them, including drivers, pedestrians, and bicyclists.”

RELATED: 60 vehicles seized by CMPD in ongoing street racing investigation

As the nation emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic, more drivers are returning to the roads. Even with traffic down in 2020, Hayes said NHTSA recorded a more than 7% increase in traffic fatalities in 2020 compared to 2019.

Speeding-related crashes were up 11% compared to 2019, Hayes explained. 

“I would rather arrive late and alive than arrive at all,” said Lt. Maurice Raines, with the Georgia State Patrol. “So, we’re encouraging everyone to slow down, be late. Help us help you. How do you do that? Slow down.”  

According to a news release, Operation Southern Shield started in 2017. The campaign occurs during the 100 Deadly Days of Summer, the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day when traffic fatalities typically increase.

RELATED: New team to crack down on aggressive driving in South Carolina

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