Jasper Police Chief Greg Lovell, Pickens Sheriff Donnie Craig and Georgia State Patrol Post Commander Tim Nichols say their officers will begin “aggressive enforcement” of speeding and erratic driving on Highway 515 following two fatal wrecks.
The heads of the three law enforcement agencies that patrol Highway 515 in this area announced Monday a crackdown on speeding and erratic driving that will run the entire month of July.
The significantly increased patrols come after two fatalities occurred on the four-lane in Pickens County during June and reports indicate that accidents there have increased 53 percent this year over last year.
Ga. State Patrol Post Commander Tim Nichols, Jasper Police Chief Greg Lovell and Sheriff Donnie Craig announced the joint campaign Monday at the local GSP Post.
Additional manpower from the GSP, the sheriff’s HEAT units and unmarked cars from both Jasper and Pickens County will patrol the four-lane 24/7 looking for speeding and distracted driving – plus any other traffic infractions.
Speed and distracted driving, along with following too close, are cited as the prime offenses leading to the sharp rise in wrecks here.
“We are going to have this start coinciding with the holiday weekend and let it run through the month,” Nichols said. “We want to see if we can make a reduction in the accidents there, since we have been seeing increases all year.”
Nichols said he is instructing troopers to practice “aggressive enforcement.” Chief Lovell said they are also instructing officers to be on the lookout for any driver texting or driving distracted for other reasons. And, they will use unmarked “spotter” vehicles for this.
Lovell said distracted driving is a prime cause of wrecks, but it is not just from texting. He said general use of smart phones, adjusting music players, plus other non-device distractions such as putting on makeup and reading are all significant contributors to accidents.
Nichols said in an earlier article that alcohol had not been a prime cause of the wrecks seen on Highway 515 this year. He said during rush times, morning commute and lunch, is when they see a lot of the accidents where people just aren’t paying attention.
The day they announced the crackdown, Nichols said the GSP had already worked a non-injury crash at Highway 515 and Camp Road where a driver rear-ended a car in front of him after the first car slowed when both were trying to enter the four-lane.
Sheriff Craig said they will also supply unmarked units to effort and will patrol county-line to county-line looking for speeders and inattentive drivers.
“If anyone gets a ticket this month, it’s their own fault,” he said. “We are telling them what we are going to do.”