Operation Southern Shield aims to reduce traffic crashes and fatalities in region

By: ,

MONTGOMERY – The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs will be teaming up with law enforcement offices throughout the state and the Southeast July 17-23 as part of a special traffic campaign to reduce the number of crashes, injuries and fatalities by ensuring motorists are obeying basic highway safety laws.

Operation Southern Shield is an effort by law enforcement agencies in five southern states to crack down on motorists who ignore the major factors in automobile crashes and deaths – speeding, impaired and distracted driving and not wearing a seatbelt.

The campaign is positioned between other major highway safety campaigns and is being conducted because of the high volume of traffic resulting from summer traveling and vacations. The campaign’s goal is to achieve a period of zero fatalities.

“Summer is a time when families come together for fun, not funerals, and Gov. Ivey’s goal is to increase safety on Alabama’s highways,” ADECA Director Kenneth Boswell said. “Gov. Ivey and ADECA wholeheartedly endorse this effort and urge drivers to at all times to slow down, wear your seatbelts and pay attention to the road.”

ADECA’s Law Enforcement and Traffic Safety Division is working with the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency and police and sheriffs’ departments throughout the state to step up efforts to provide high-visibility of law enforcement and take unsafe drivers off the road. ADECA administers grant funding from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that pays overtime for officers to conduct extra patrols during special campaigns like Operation Southern Shield at hotspots where traffic crashes often occur.

The safety campaign also is being conducted in Georgia, Florida, South Carolina and Tennessee, which along with Alabama, make up the NHTSA’s Southeast enforcement region.

In 2015, speed was determined to be a factor in 28 percent of the fatal crashes. Also in those 2015 speed-related traffic deaths, 63 percent of the victims were not wearing seat belts and 43 percent of the drivers had been drinking.