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Operation Southern Shield targets speeding in 5 states with increased police presence

GSP Sergeant Kevin Pope says their laser guns will be working overtime this week as part of Operation Southern Shield / Danielle Apolinar (WGXA)

MACON, Ga. -- Law enforcement is cracking down on speeding in the Peach State as part of Operation Southern Shield.

The operation is a week-long effort to stop speeding in five Southern states, and Georgia is one of them.

Harris Blackwood, the director of the Governor's Office of Highway Safety, said that this is the first time that they have done a concentrated speed enforcement with these five states--Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, South Carolina and Florida.

"There's a heavy concentration on interstate highways when you have such a large group of people on the road right now," Blackwood said.

Blackwood also said that speed is one of the top contributors to crashes, including fatality crashes, in the state.

"We want people to slow down, we want them to be safe," he said. "We have seen a 50 percent increase in fatalities that involve speed in this region, and we're convinced now is the time to do something about it."

Blackwood said that speed limits are posted for a reason, and he hopes that this operation can encourage people to follow those limits.

He said that 782 people have been killed on Georgia roads so far this year, which amounts to one every six hours. He said that operations like this are more about protecting the public than making money.

"This is not about raising revenue," he said. "No, we want to save lives."

Blackwood said that he wants to change drivers' behavior. He said that if they notice more patrol cars on the streets this week and therefore slow down, maybe this will cause them to continue to drive within the speed limit for the month or longer.

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