SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – State and local law enforcement agencies are ramping up traffic safety enforcement efforts on a 22-mile stretch of Interstate 16 just west of downtown Savannah.
So far, the area is averaging just over one traffic crash per day, according to the Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety (GOHS).
GOHS on Tuesday announced the initiative involving the Savannah Police Department, Chatham County Police Department, Pooler Police Department, Bloomingdale Police Department, Bryan County Sheriff’s Office, Effingham County Sheriff’s Office, Georgia State Patrol and Georgia Motor Carrier Compliance Division.
Officers will be targeting aggressive, distracted and impaired driving, along with speeding and failure to comply with other state traffic laws.
“The crash data over the last five years for this section of rural interstate shows this enforcement effort is needed and will continue until the small percentage of selfish drivers stop endangering themselves and others by obeying the law and driving in a manner that makes it safer for everyone traveling,” GOHS Director Allen Poole said.
GOHS says data from the Georgia Department of Transportation between 2016 and 2020 shows that 14 people have died and 494 others have been hurt in 1,718 crashes on the stretch of I-16 from the Bryan-Bulloch county line, to the Dean Forest Road interchange in Chatham County.
Two people have been killed and four people have been injured in the 55 crashes that have happened in 2021 so far, data shows.
“The pandemic, unfortunately, led to a rise in traffic deaths in Georgia and across the nation in 2020,” Poole said. “This campaign is the first of many steps that will be taken in our state to put the brakes on the risky driving behaviors that have led to this increase such as excessive speed, reckless driving, distracted driving, and impaired driving.”
According to GOHS, officers will also enhance efforts at the I-16/I-95 interchange project, enforcing the reduced speed of 55 miles per hour.
Drivers are also reminded to obey Georgia’s Move Over Law and pay attention to traffic patterns during road work.
“Make sure those working on our roads can go home at the end of the day by obeying the speed limit, giving them room to work, and keeping your eyes on the road,” Poole said.
Officials say the enforcement efforts will continue as long as the agencies involved feel it’s needed to reduce crashes and save lives.
“We are announcing this enforcement operation before it begins because the intent is not to have to write tickets but to have drivers choose to help save lives by obeying all traffic laws,” Poole added.