STATEWIDE (WIS) - Excessive speeding is a big problem in our state. On a daily basis, the interstates are filled with drivers going 15, 20 or even 25 miles over the posted speed limit. That's not only illegal, it's potentially deadly. That danger is the motivation behind a new speed enforcement campaign underway in South Carolina and neighboring states.
It's called "Operation Southern Shield." Now through July 23rd, law enforcement officers are cracking down on speeders, along with drivers who are under the influence or who don't buckle up. So far this year, 525 people have died on South Carolina highways. According to a national study, speeding was a factor in 37 percent of all fatal crashes in the state in 2015.
For many drivers, just the mere sight of a trooper on the road is enough to make them be a little more cautious, regardless of whether or not they're actually breaking the law.
The WIS editorial board applauds the "Operation Southern Shield" effort, but it needs to go beyond just a week. The National Safety Council gave the state a grade of "F" in its "State Of Safety" report, ranking near the bottom in the nation. Speeding was cited as one of the areas badly needing to be addressed. To catch the speeders, we need more troopers on patrol.
Right now, the Highway Patrol has a force of about 800 people, and agency leaders are hoping to add about 55 new troopers next year. Meanwhile, lawmakers are also examining ways to recruit and retain troopers.
"I mean, it's always tough recruiting in law enforcement, of course," SCHP Corporal Michael Zang said. "It's something you either want or have a passion for or you at least have an interest in. Those are the ones we're looking for."
But we also need people to be more responsible. So ask yourself…what destination is so important that you have to press the pedal all the way to the floorboard just to get there a few minutes earlier? And is it worth putting your life or someone else's in jeopardy to do so?
That's My Take, What's Yours?