HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WBTW) — The South Carolina Department of Public Safety (SCDPS) is partnering with five other Southeastern states — South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Florida, and Tennessee — for its annual Operation Southern Shield, which is aimed at reducing the number of speed-related crashes.
“It’s important for us to have this campaign to show a force of presence that people see us on the highway,” South Carolina Highway Patrol (SCHP) Master Trooper Brian Lee said.
It’s an annual effort to raise awareness and provide proactive enforcement to reduce the number of speed-related crashes in South Carolina.
“It kind of helps people remember, ‘Hey, we are in the 100 deadly days of summer,’ and this does give us a chance to get out, show our presence, and we’ll have more people working,” Lee said.
Throughout the past year in Horry County, SCDPS reported 65 traffic deaths — 32 of those in 2021. And as we’re well into the summer months, SCHP is stressing the importance of safe driving.
“During the summer months, people are out traveling, and people are trying to go maybe on vacation,” Lee said.
In 2020, during the 100 deadly days of summer, SCDPS reported more than 10,900 speed related crashes.
“Speed is a major factor,” Lee said. “Somebody goes around a curve, they’re going too fast, and lose control of the vehicle and before you know it, you’re in a collision.”
And as we’re currently in that period, Lee hopes this campaign will be a reminder to the public.
“The main thing is, we want people to see us, we want to be visible, we want people to know, and and it’s just a reminder to let people know, ‘Hey, troopers are out, law enforcement’s out’,” Lee said.
Along with the speeding campaign, Lee told News13 they’re also going to be on the lookout for people not wearing seat belts.
Of the 32 deaths reported in Horry County this year, 21 of them were not wearing a seat belt.