Regional traffic enforcement initiative starts Monday in Georgia and neighboring states

“Hands Across the Border” moves to new date with expanded mission
The 26th annual “Hands Across the Border” week-long traffic enforcement operation kicks off on Monday, June 5 with Georgia joining their fellow law enforcement officers in Alabama, Florida, South Carolina and Tennessee to conduct joint roadchecks in their respective states.

State and local law enforcement officers in all five states will work simultaneously to take drunken and drugged drivers off the roads as well issuing citations for speeding, distracted driving, unbuckled motorists and other traffic violations.

“It is a time for us to get together with our friends from neighboring states and it is really, really important this year with the high number of fatalities we have had in Georgia and across the nation last year,” Harris Blackwood, Director of the Governor’s Office of Highway said.  "We believe that working together we can hold down the number of fatalities and injuries across Georgia and the southeast during this early part of the summer going through Labor Day.”

“Hands Across the Border” started in 1991 as a friendly wager between the Georgia State Patrol and Florida Highway Patrol to see which agency could limit the number of alcohol-related traffic deaths in their state during the Labor Day travel period.

Within ten years, the effort grew to all states bordering Georgia holding joint roadchecks at their state lines on the week before Labor Day with the goal of taking impaired drivers off the roads prior to the final summer holiday travel period of the year.

This year, Georgia and its neighboring law enforcement partners believe they can expand their safety message by moving “Hands Across the Border” to the start of the summer travel season, and mirror the annual “100 Days of Summer H.E.A.T.”  enforcement operation where state and local law enforcement officers will be issuing citations to drivers who are speeding, distracted, not wearing seat belts and have committed other traffic violations.

“Our number one goal is to reduce fatalities and serious injury crashes,” Roger Hayes, G.O.H.S. Law Enforcement Services Director said.  “People in Georgia will be traveling to our neighboring states and vice versa, and no matter where they are driving, we want them to slow down, buckle up and never drink and drive.”

The number of traffic deaths in Georgia has increased in each of the last two years.  There were 1,432 people killed in traffic crashes in the state in 2015, which was a 23 percent increase from the previous year.

While the final crash statistics from 2016 will be released later this year by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, preliminary numbers from the Georgia Department of Transportation stand at 1,561 traffic deaths in the state last year.

 “’Hands Across the Border’ sends a message to the motoring public that there is an urgent effort to slow people down, to get drunk drivers off the road, to end texting and driving and other distractions and to make sure everyone is wearing that seat belt, “ Director Blackwood said. “Our friends in our neighboring states are just as committed as we are to make the roads safe to drive this summer and all year.”

“Hands Across the Border” will begin on Monday, June 5 with roadchecks at the Georgia/Tennessee line in Ringgold followed by stops at the Alabama state line in Columbus, Florida state line in Valdosta and Kingsland and the South Carolina state line in Savannah.

For more information about the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, please go to our websites www.gahighwaysafety.org or www.headsUPgeorgia.com.  Follow us on Facebook at facebook.com/gahighwaysafety and on Twitter at @gohsgeorgia for the latest highway safety information.
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