Georgia, South Carolina, Florida, North Carolina boost safety on I-95 Corridor
The very busy Interstate 95 corridor serves as a major travel route for millions of Americans each year. Soon, families will be traveling through this area for well-deserved vacations, and we want them to arrive at their destinations and back home again safely.
Along one segment of this heavily traveled corridor, four states have come together to fix a deadly safety problem. North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida, see 13 percent of the nation’s fatal truck and bus related crashes. These states believe --and I agree-- that we must do better.
That's why, earlier this week, I traveled to Port Wentworth, Georgia, to kick-off a tremendous safety partnership called Operation Safe DRIVE occurring this week along a 900-mile stretch of Interstate 95.
The kick-off event was hosted by Colonel Mark McDonough of the Georgia Department of Public Safety, and we were joined by Colonel Leroy Taylor of the South Carolina State Transport Police along with law enforcement officers, local officials, and industry representatives from across the region. The North Carolina State Highway Patrol used similar events to kick-off this 72-hour safety enforcement blitz.
Driver error is the most frequent factor causing the crashes on I-95. In fact, nationwide, nearly 90 percent of fatal crashes involving large trucks and buses have driver-related causes.
Sometimes, they're the fault of the commercial vehicle driver, and sometimes it’s the driver of the car. But crashes are almost always preventable.
Driver Tim McElwaney demonstrates safe operating practices; photo courtesy Savannah Morning Sun, Karson Brandenburg.
The DRIVE effort targeted Distracted, Reckless and Impaired drivers through high-Visibility Enforcement. To a person, the officers in this initiative were committed to achieving a 72-hour period with zero crashes along the southeast corridor.
This surge of more than 400 law enforcement officers from four states kept an eye out for all drivers of trucks, buses, and passenger vehicles speeding, texting, following too closely, making improper lane changes, and driving fatigued.
By showing a consistent safety message from state-to-state, an effort like this one can pay big dividends. As Colonel McDonough said, “The success of this campaign will not be determined by the number of citations issued or the number of inspections conducted. It will be measured by lives saved and injuries prevented.”
We thank these dedicated officers for their extra effort this week. They see roadway tragedies first-hand every day and understand more than anyone that safety is literally in the hands of every driver, every mile, everywhere.