Summer HEAT program now underway in Georgia
By JOHN A. WINTERS
Today is a good day to start obeying the speed limit as law enforcement agencies throughout the state of Georgia have kicked off a 100-day zero tolerance enforcement program.
Known as HEAT — Highway Enforcement of Aggressive Traffic — the program, which runs through Sept. 3, is designed to reduce the number of fatalities and go after aggressive drivers.
"The main thing is to reduce traffic fatalities," said Georgia State Patrol Trooper First Class Katie Thompson. "The purpose is to focus on seatbelt violations, DUI, aggressive driving and speeding.
"Motor vehicle crashes in Georgia actually outnumber the murder rate here, by three-to-one," she added.
According to information from the Governor's Office of Highway Safety, more than 15,000 people have died in motor vehicle crashes in the state over the past 10 years. In 2010 alone, there were 217 speed-related vehicular fatalities.
"The 100 Days of Summer H.E.A.T. campaign is a multi-jurisdictional highway safety enforcement strategy designed to reduce fatal crash counts during Georgia’s deadly holiday driving period from Memorial Day through Labor Day, the department said in a press release.
This marks the ninth consecutive year the state has run the program.
"To the bad drivers who are pulled over during the waves of concentrated patrols or stopped at the statewide road checks, HEAT will mean more than a roadside delay," the highway office said. "Bad drivers will feel the HEAT on their checkbooks, license points and insurance rates when they receive citations for speeding and aggressive driving... tickets for failing to buckle-up the kids or wear safety belts... and jail time for drunk and drugged driving."
Also, the Georgia Department of Transportation announced it will suspend all construction-related lane closures beginning Friday to ease Memorial Day traffic.
The suspension runs from Friday at noon to Tuesday, May 29, at 5 a.m.
“Historically, Georgia experiences more than 2,000 crashes resulting in more than a dozen fatalities and more than a thousand injuries during the Memorial Day weekend,” Transportation Commissioner Keith Golden, notes. “Enjoy your holiday, but please be very careful while driving.”