‘Operation Southern Slow Down’ focused on preventing speeding in ‘busy summertime travel period’

Sarasota Police Department officers joining those from four other states in initiative

Officers with the Sarasota Police Department will be taking part in Operation Southern Slow Down (formerly known as Operation Southern Shield), the department announced on July 15.

The Sarasota Police Department is partnering with law enforcement agencies from throughout Florida, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina and Tennessee on the undertaking, a news release says.

Operation Southern Slow Down, which began July 18 and will end on July 24, focuses “on the busy summertime travel period when injury and fatal crashes increase significantly,” the release explains. “The high visibility enforcement and awareness campaign will work to reduce fatalities and serious injuries by having motorists obey speed limits,” the release adds.

“According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), speeding has been a factor in nearly one-third of all traffic deaths in the United States during the past 20 years,” the release notes. “In 2020, speeding killed 11,258 people,” a total approximately 17% higher than the figure for the previous year, the release says. 

“The most important thing about driving is staying safe behind the wheel,” said Officer Jason Frank of Sarasota Police Department Traffic Unit, in the release. “One of our primary goals in our Traffic Unit is to make sure residents in our community and those citizens who are traveling through get home safely,” he added.

In 2021 in the city of Sarasota, Sarasota Police officers issued 334 citations and/or warnings for not wearing seat belts, 4,803 citations and/or warnings for speeding, and 832 citations and/or warnings for driving while license suspended, the release points out. Additionally, officers made 91 arrests on charges of driving under the influence (DUI).

Operation Southern Slow Down, formerly known as Operation Southern Shield, was launched in 2017.