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Florida law enforcement agencies cracking down on speeders during 'Operation Southern Slow Down'

Speed enforcement awareness campaign runs Monday, July 18 through Saturday, July 23
Florida officers cracking down on speeders during week-long speed enforcement operation
Posted at 11:16 AM, Jul 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-18 17:52:30-04

TAMPA, Fla. — A campaign aimed at helping "save lives and prevent reckless driving and speeding" in Florida and four other southeastern states kicked off Monday.

The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), in collaboration with the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) and local law enforcement agencies, announced that "Operation Southern Slow Down" will run from Monday, July 18, through Saturday, July 23.

"It’s not uncommon for officers and deputies and troopers to encounter people 30, 40, 50 mph over the speed limit,” said FHP Sgt. Steve Gaskins.

During the week-long speed enforcement awareness campaign, officials said state troopers and local law enforcement officers will conduct concentrated enforcement on interstates and state highways.

Operation Southern Slow Down Announcement
Florida Highway Patrol and multiple other law enforcement agencies announce Operation Southern Slow Down on 7/18/2022.

"Operation Southern Slow Down" is a joint effort with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), and per its website, "for more than two decades, speeding has been involved in approximately one-third of all motor vehicle fatalities."

Since the start of this year, there have been a total of 1,590 fatal crashes in Florida. As a result of those fatal crashes, 1,718 people have died and 1,138 people injured.

In the Tampa Bay area, 371 of those fatal crashes have killed 400 people and injured 286.

"From 2019 to 2021, there was a dramatic increase in speeding-related crash fatalities. The roads were less crowded, and motorists took more risks and drove faster than ever,” said David Gwynn, FDOT District Seven Secretary.

Gwynn said the fatal crash trend in the first six months of 2022 compared to the first six months of 2021 in the Tampa Bay region is down about 22 percent.

Law enforcement also reminded people to pay attention when behind the wheel and buckle up.

“The limits are set to make the travel on that particular roadway as safe as possible, so when you start violating that speed limit and going above 5, 10, 15, 20 mph because we always seem to inch up more and more, doesn’t matter if that’s the pace of the traffic or not, the speed limits are set for a reason for your safety," said Gaskins. "Five, 10, 15, it doesn’t matter. There’s a limit for a reason.”

To view the fatal crashes in your county, visit the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) dashboard.

"Operation Southern Slow Down" will also be conducted in Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, and Tennessee.