Category Archives: Notices

Drivers Who Exceed The Speed Limit Are Warned To Slow Down Or Be Prepared to Get Pulled Over

Motorists who think they can drive faster than the legal speed limit without getting pulled over could soon see blue lights in the rearview mirror as Georgia joins a multi-state effort to reduce traffic deaths by getting drivers to follow the posted speed limit.

“Operation Southern Shield” begins Monday, July 17 and is a week-long speed prevention and enforcement initiative on interstates, major highways and local roads in Georgia, Alabama, Florida, South Carolina and Tennessee.

“When you cash a check for $50 at the bank, they don’t give you $60,” Harris Blackwood, Director of the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety said. “Drivers who exceed the posted speed limit by 10 miles an hour or more increase their chances of being in a crash because the faster speeds reduce their reaction times and ability to stop suddenly.”

In Georgia, the number of speeding-related fatalities has almost doubled from 2012-2015.  According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA, there were 268 speeding-related fatalities in 2015 in the state, which was a 25 percent increase from 2014.

Preliminary numbers from the Georgia Department of Transportation show there were 1,561 people killed in traffic crashes in 2016, which is the second consecutive year the number of traffic deaths in the state has increased after those numbers had declined for nine straight years.

According to NHTSA, speeding was a factor in 27 percent of the fatal crashes in the United States in 2015 that killed 9,553 people, and almost half of the fatal speeding-related crashes in the nation happened on rural non-interstate roads.

NHTSA considers a crash to be speeding-related if any driver involved in the crash was charged with a speeding-related offense, or if a law enforcement officer found exceeding the posted speed limit, driving too fast for conditions or racing was a contributing factor in the crash.

“Operation Southern Shield is a very worthwhile endeavor because speeding is a major contributing factor to fatal crashes in the state of Georgia,” Colonel Mark McDonough, Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Safety said. “Our objective over the next week is to make the public aware and to encourage them to slow down and drive safely.”

“By publicizing this operation now, we want drivers across the southeast to choose on their own to obey the speed limit,” Blackwood said. “Drivers who follow the law will have nothing to worry about, but those who keep their foot on the accelerator run the risk of getting a ticket.”

Operation Southern Shield” will kick off with news conferences on July 17 in all five states. The states will then work simultaneously throughout the week to enforce speed limit laws on interstates, state highways, and local roads.

The Governor’s Office of Highway Safety’s 16 regional traffic enforcement networks will be conducting speed enforcement patrols in their local communities.

Georgia Drivers Reminded Their Lives Are More Important Than Text Messages and E-mails

The Governor’s Office of Highway Safety warns drivers to not be foolish enough to think they can text and drive as April is “National Designated Driving Awareness” month.

Distracted driving is any activity that takes the driver’s focus away from the road including talking to passengers, eating or drinking, adjusting the radio and grooming. Of course, the biggest distraction for drivers is cell phones.  It is against the law in Georgia for drivers to text, e-mail or post on social media while their vehicle is on the road including when stopped at a traffic signal or stop sign.

“I can’t imagine any text message or e-mail that is more important than a human life,” Harris Blackwood, Director of the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety said. “It is only human nature to want to pick up your phone when it alerts you that someone has sent you a message, but it will not hurt you or anyone else if you wait until you have reached your destination to check your phone.”

According to the Georgia Department of Transportation, the number of distracted driving crashes in Georgia has risen by more than 400 percent in the last decade.  There were 25,215 crashes in the state last year where inattentive, cell phone or distracted was listed as the contributing factor compared to 5,784 such crashes in 2006.

There were 3,477 people killed and 391,000 injured in distracted driving crashes across the nation in 2015.  The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says approximately 660,000 drivers are using their cell phones while driving during daylight hours.

To help reduce these numbers, the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety is partnering with the Georgia State Patrol, Georgia Motor Carrier Compliance Division and our 16 Regional Traffic Enforcement Networks for increased enforcement of Georgia’s distracted driving law.

The Governor’s Office of Highway Safety has also produced its own distracted driving prevention message that is airing on television stations across the state, and a radio campaign that is also being distributed across Georgia.

“Every driver feels they are the one who can text when they are behind the wheel but the crash data shows that it is just a matter of time before you cause a crash that kills or injures yourself or someone else ” Director Blackwood said.  “The more people see just how deadly distracted driving is, then the better chance we have to make it as unacceptable as drunken driving.”

Within the last year, the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety has expanded its headsUPgeorgia.com distracted driving awareness website with new information, video testimonials and a pledge for parents and teens vowing not to text and drive.

A first ever Distracted Driving Prevention Task Team formed in July of last year.  The team consists of law enforcement officers, transportation officials, private transportation-related business professionals and non-profit highway safety groups who are developing new initiatives aimed at reducing the number of distracted driving crashes in Georgia.

For more information about the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, please go to our websites www.gahighwaysafety.org or www.headsUPgeorgia.com.  Follow us on Facebook at facebook.com/gahighwaysafety and on Twitter at @gohsgeorgia for the latest highway safety information.

Georgia DOT Restricts Construction Related Lane Closures For Next Three Weekends

Motorists traveling the next two weekends for Spring Break and Easter will feel some relief thanks to the restriction of construction-related lane closures statewide on Interstate Highways.

To accommodate Spring Break traffic this weekend Georgia DOT will limit lane closures on Interstate Highways throughout the state from noon Friday, March 31 until 10 p.m. Sunday, April 2. The following weekend Georgia DOT will also limit lane closures on all interstates from noon Friday, April 7 to 10 p.m. Sunday, April 9.

In addition, Easter weekend Georgia DOT will limit lane closures on interstates and roadways near major tourist attractions, shopping centers, malls, and shopping districts from 11 p.m. Friday, April 14 to 11 p.m. Monday, April 16.

Georgia DOT advises motorists that – in the event of a crash or breakdown – to never get out of the car on a freeway, unless your life is in imminent danger. Pull onto the nearest shoulder as far from the travel lanes as possible and call 511 for HERO assistance in Metro Atlanta or CHAMP service, available in various regions across Georgia.

Georgia’s Move-over Law requires drivers to move-over one lane when a law enforcement, emergency vehicle (including HERO or CHAMP) or construction crew  is on the side of the road and displaying flashing emergency lights. If it is unsafe to move over, then slow down below the posted speed.