Murfreesboro Police participate in ‘Operation Southern Shield,’ increase traffic enforcement efforts

Photo by Andrew Wigdor / News Editor

The Murfreesboro Police Department has increased traffic enforcement and are encouraging safer driving practices this week, according to an MPD press release.

The release states that the harsher enforcement of speeding and traffic violations is a part of the “Operation Southern Shield” initiative.

Operation Southern Shield began Monday with five states, Tennessee, Alabama, Florida, Georgia and South Carolina, participating in the campaign aimed at reducing traffic-related deaths and injuries. Law enforcement agencies in the five states have been encouraged to educate the public about driving safety measures and to crack down on those who speed and drive recklessly.

MPD Public Information Officer Kyle Evans stated that the Murfreesboro Police Department has partnered with the Tennessee Highway Safety Office, which provided additional grant funding to allow for “increased enforcement efforts.”

“Any life lost on our roadways is one too many,” Evans said to Sidelines. “We want to do everything we can to ensure that our residents and those who are traveling through Murfreesboro arrive at their destination safely.”

According to research conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 35,092 people were killed in traffic crashes in 2015, which ended a 50 year trend of declining traffic fatalities. 2015 saw a 7.2 percent increase in deaths from 2014. Continuing this trend, there was a six percent increase in traffic fatalities in 2016 with 40,200 deaths, according to a report by the National Safety Council.

“We, locally, have seen increases in traffic fatalities and traffic crashes, in general, resulting in injuries,” Evans said. “Using the grant money to fund the enforcement, we believe will help reduce those injuries and fatal accidents. Some of the funding could possibly go into Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacon (rrfb) warning lights to improve the visibility of pedestrians and other vehicles. This could work to further reduce the chance of injuries and fatal accidents. More research will be done to see if any funding will be allocated to these efforts.”

According to the MPD press release, the MPD Aggressive Driving Unit has increased enforcement along US 231 S. Church St. The release also states that MPD officers have issued over 450 citations as a part of the Operation Southern Shield campaign.

“Officers will be specifically looking for speeding violations, following too closely and seatbelt violations,” said MPD Traffic and Special Services Captain Cary Gensemer in the press release. “By reducing speed, increasing following distance and wearing seatbelts, drivers can make a significant contribution to making our roads safer.”

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