Operation Thunder Rolling Into Richmond County | News
ATLANTA, GA- The Governor's Office of Highway Safety
(GOHS) is announcing life-saving news for the Augusta area: Operation Thunder
is launching a 3-month, high-visibility campaign to help cops crack down on
dangerous drivers throughout Richmond County. The Thunder taskforce is a
specialized traffic enforcement unit designed to help Georgia cities and
counties combat abnormally high occurrences of traffic crashes, injuries and
fatalities on local, high-traffic corridors.
And indeed, Richmond County has experienced a
sharp increase in fatalities just within the last two years. After seeing an
initial decrease in fatalities from 2006-2010, Richmond County has now
experienced a significant 2010. That year, the county experienced 19
fatalities, but that number rose to 35 in 2011 and even further to 44 in 2012. That
represents an overall 131 percent increase in fatalities in just two years.
GOHS will hit the ground running with the
Richmond County Sheriff's Office by kicking off Operation Thunder with a news
conference on the Wheeler Road Bridge over I-20 at 1:30PM on Thursday, February
"The taskforce's goal in Augusta will be to
intercept high-risk drivers before they turn their risky behavior into reality
and cause even more crashes," said GOHS Director Harris Blackwood.
Thunder campaign is being launched in full cooperation with the Richmond County
Sheriff's Office, led by Sheriff Richard Roundtree.
"Last year in Richmond
County, 44 people died needlessly due to traffic related fatalities. Our
administration plans to do everything possible in order to save lives to
include education, warnings and enforcement," said Sheriff Roundtree. "We are
excited to be teaming up with HEAT and GSP units from across the state through
the Governor's Office of Highway Safety, which allows for additional resources
to combat this problem without additional local funding."
The Thunder mission is to detect Georgia's
high-crash corridors and reduce mounting highway deaths and serious injuries by
introducing a high visibility law enforcement presence to help stabilize the
extreme and illegal driving behaviors of careless motorists who cause those
taskforce's goal in Richmond County will be to show a significant reduction in
traffic fatalities and injuries during the three-month initiative.
assigning concentrated patrols to state routes, rural roads and interstate
highways on alternating schedules throughout the campaign. Thunder officers
will conduct safety belt and sobriety roadchecks as well as speed patrols while
collecting enforcement data to document their life-saving progress.
"For motorists in
and around Richmond County, they can be sure they'll see an increased law enforcement
presence," said Director Blackwood. "But rest assured, this is not about quotas
or revenue, it's about saving lives. We cannot stand by idle while the area's
fatal crash rate has increased by such a large percentage."
has a history of reducing highways deaths since the project's inception in
2007. Each time it's launched, the GOHS Thunder Taskforce deploys a combined safety belt, speed and DUI
mobilization with local traffic enforcement units. For more information
on the Thunder Taskforce, visit www.gahighwaysafety.org.
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