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'Slow down': FHP launches new program to stop speeding, car crashes and save lives

According to Florida Highway Patrol, violations of drivers going in excess of 50 mph have increased each year since 2012.
Credit: WTSP
Florida Highway Patrol cracks down on speeders with 'Operation Southern Shield'

BRADENTON, Fla. — Florida Highway Patrol has begun cracking down on speeders and aggressive drivers along the roadways.

They teamed up with local law enforcement agencies and four other states on Monday to kick off "Operation Southern Shield."

The week-long enforcement campaign which runs through Saturday, July 24 is aimed at preventing crashes by stopping drivers from speeding and driving aggressively.

The campaign is in collaboration with the Florida Department of Transportation and is a joint effort by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the southeastern states of Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, and Tennessee. 

"The faster you go, the greater probability that there is going to be extensive property damage, the severity of injuries or unfortunately death," said Lt. Greg Bueno, Florida Highway Patrol.

Bueno said violations of drivers going in excess of 50 mph have increased each year since 2012, and the month of July is the most prevalent month for speeding violations.

Troopers and officers will ticket drivers going over the posted speed limit, driving dangerously or being distracted by using their phones without a hands-free setup.

They are also urging drivers to be cautious, patient with each other and avoid road rage.

"With aggressive driving, people in a hurry to get somewhere, we’ve definitely seen an increase in car crashes in the past several years," said Capt. Brian Thiers, Bradenton Police Dept.

"If you see someone driving aggressively, see someone participating in road rage, then you need to separate yourself from that person. Do not re-engage with that person, do not put yourself in an unsafe position because nothing good will come out of that," Lt. Bueno said.

So far in 2021, 185,879 crashes have occurred in the State of Florida, according to data from Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. The data also showed there have been 1,696 fatalities and 118,428 injuries.

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