Across the state, law enforcement agencies will roll out the 10th season of 100 Days of Summer H.E.A.T. (Highway Enforcement of Aggressive Traffic) campaign, a multi-jurisdictional highway safety enforcement focusing on dangerous, aggressive and high-speed drivers in an effort to reduce fatal crashes between Memorial Day and Labor Day, according to a press release from the Bartow County Sheriff’s Office.
Sheriff Clark Millsap said in addition to population growth, the county has seen traffic growth as well.
“There are more vehicles on our roads than ever before. The summer months mean more visitors to Allatoona Lake, our area campgrounds and other attractions,” he said. “We want our community to feel safe when they take to the streets and highways in Bartow County, and that is why we participate in the Georgia Summer H.E.A.T. campaign as well as Click It or Ticket.”
Coordinated through the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, the campaign will kick off Monday and coincide with the beginning of the Click It or Ticket safety belt initiative. The combination of the two programs means police, deputies and state troopers will be working to take offenders off the road.
“As in years past, we are launching the 100 Days of Summer H.E.A.T. campaign in conjunction with Click It or Ticket,” said GOHS Director Harris Blackwood. “To put it simply, H.E.A.T. is an enforcement campaign. If you’re speeding, you’re getting a ticket. If you and your passengers aren’t buckled up, you’re getting a ticket. And if you’re drunk behind the wheel, you’re going straight to jail.”
Safety experts regard speeding as a high-risk behavior behind the wheel, right along with texting and DUI. Why? Because speed kills. Across Georgia in 2010, there were 217 speed-related fatalities. Among drivers age 21 and older in all 2010 fatal crashes, those who were not speeding were twice as likely to be wearing seatbelts as those who were speeding at the time of the crash. In fact, national research shows Georgia among the highest illegal speeders in the country.
“Throughout the year, speed, drunk driving and unbuckled motorists and passengers are the top three causes of fatal crashes in Georgia,” Blackwood said. “That’s exactly why we launch Summer H.E.A.T. — to save lives. It’s not about ticket quotas and it’s not about revenue. When more people are on the road during the summer months, we want them to get to and from their vacations safely.”
BCSO Uniform Patrol Division Capt. Lee Fletcher coordinates the campaigns for the county.
“The Summer H.E.A.T. campaign enables the BCSO to assign deputies to specifically watch for and concentrate on stopping these high-risk driving behaviors,” Fletcher said. “Deputies assigned to the campaign are not confined to work the major highways in Bartow County; they will also be working the rural roadways and assisting our municipalities in making our roads safe as well.” He said among the plans for the department’s plans are concentrated patrols in areas where accidents or drunk driving have been a problem and also setting up traffic safety checkpoints to target high-risk driving behaviors. Motorists can expect to encounter those efforts at any time during the campaign on any roadway in Bartow County.
Cartersville Police Department Capt. Mark Camp said that, although he has not been advised of the agency’s plans to participate in the campaign, CPD’s special operations unit will be setting up DUI checkpoints around the city.
This year’s 100 Days of Summer H.E.A.T. runs through Sept. 2. Click It or Ticket runs through June 2. For more information, visit www.gahighwaysafety.org.