The Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office wants drivers to slow down.
The LCSO, along with the S.C. Department of Public Safety, the S.C. Highway Patrol and law enforcement agencies across the Southeast, is participating in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Region 4 Operation Southern Slow Down.
The effort began Monday, July 18, and runs through Sunday, July 24.
The operation involves education about the dangers and consequences of excessive speed on the highway and vigorous enforcement of speed laws during the week.
Although miles traveled and traffic crashes declined nationwide during 2020 primarily because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of crash fatalities still increased 6.6% over 2019. Speed was a factor in 29% of those traffic fatalities, a 3% increase over 2019. In 2020, the number of people killed in high-speed crashes increased 17% over 2019. Among those drivers killed, 53% were not wearing seat belts.
Young drivers were involved in proportionally more high-speed fatal crashes than other age groups in 2020. About 35% of male and 18% of female drivers involved in fatal crashes were speeding.
Within the five states participating in the operation — Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and Tennessee — deaths in speed-related crashes increased by 14% in 2020, compared to 2019 with 1,611 deaths.
Even with the advanced safety features of modern automobiles, high-speed automobile crashes are deadly. The faster a vehicle is moving, the longer and farther it takes to slow and stop it. Doubling speed quadruples the stopping distance. Bigger vehicles require more stopping distance, and driving downhill or on uneven or wet pavement further increases stopping distance.
Law enforcement officers will be looking for speeders during the campaign and writing tickets. Speeding tickets are costly beyond the fines, fees, surcharges and assessments attached to them. Points assessed against a driver’s license often result in higher insurance premiums.
Lancaster County Sheriff Barry Faile encourages drivers to be safe on the roadways and obey speed limits.
“Don’t drive faster than the posted speed limit,” Faile said. “And there are times when the posted limit is too fast, like during periods of heavy traffic or bad weather. Drive slower when the conditions indicate you should. Leave plenty of distance between your car and the car ahead of you.
“Let a driver who flies up behind you pass. Don’t brake check him or get baited into a road rage incident,” he advised. “Check your speed when you approach a curve and slow down before the curve. Drive in the right lane of a multi-lane highway.
“Let your driving habits set a good example for youngsters in the car with you who will be our future drivers.” Faile said. “And, as always, buckle up and don’t use your electronic device while you’re driving.
“Do your part to keep our roadways safe.”