They didn’t have to, but heads of Georgia State Patrol Post 28, the Pickens County Sheriff’s Office and the Jasper Police Department pulled together to address skyrocketing crashes along the Highway 515 corridor – and they deserve to be applauded for their effort.
For the entire month of July these agencies doubled down patrols on 515 with a strong focus on speeding and distracted driving, and all three reported the crackdown a success.
Not only did the number of crashes on 515 decrease proportionally to crashes worked in the entire county, officers and deputies issued about double the usual number of citations during the month and there was not a single fatality.
Their increased presence raised awareness in the community about the need for extra caution on the four lane, especially at the most dangerous areas - the intersections of Highway 53, Highway 108 and Camp Road.
The sheriff’s office even reported that they learned how great the public concern is over speeding, aggressive and distracted driving in the area. The sheriff office also found an ongoing need to use unmarked vehicles to identify distracted drivers.
If you were one of the more than 375 people ticketed on Highway 515 last month, consider yourself lucky - better a lesson than a crash.
And while the one month crackdown has ended, drivers beware. As the sheriff’s office figured out during July, citizens want aggressive enforcement on the four-lane and we suspect our local agencies will honor these wishes.
Just because the crackdown has ended, it doesn’t mean you can go back to flying 75 miles an hour through an intersection.
It gives us a great deal of comfort knowing our law agencies aren’t static. They are willing to respond to the changing needs of a community to keep the public safe.
Police scanners are standard equipment in newsrooms and we don’t like listening to call after call responding to a wreck on 515 (we don’t like hearing about wrecks anywhere, but the numbers on 515 are noticeably more). We want to see that number continue to decrease and we know that our law enforcement agencies want that as well.
As members of the public who use 515 almost everyday, lets all heed the advice of our law officials – slow down, put down that cell phone and pay attention at intersections on Highway 515, because even though we know they are looking out for us, we need to look out for ourselves, too.
Safe driving from the Progress.