When Georgia residents think about traffic violations, they are unlikely to consider the possibility that they will need criminal defense to deal with the allegations. This is a common mistake and it can make the situation worse. Traffic offenses might not reach the level of severity of violent crimes, theft and other charges, but there are penalties that can negatively impact a person’s life in multiple ways. They should be avoided if possible. Understanding traffic offenses is especially important during a statewide crackdown on violations.

Attempt to reduce road dangers sparks campaign

Law enforcement is moving forward with a campaign to catch drivers who commit traffic violations. Referred to as “Operation Southern Shield,” police are focusing on speeding drivers, but other violations like distracted driving, drunk driving and recklessness are also part of the crackdown. This is the fourth consecutive year that this aggressive attempt to improve road safety is being done.

The Georgia Department of Transportation points to a reduction in fatal road accidents in previous safety campaigns to justify its continuing implementation of Southern Shield. In 2017 – the first year in which this was attempted – there was a 35% reduction in road deaths compared to the week before. For 2018, it lowered by 22%. In 2019, there was a 29% reduction in road fatalities during the last two weeks of July when compared to the first two weeks.

In 2018, nearly 20% of traffic fatalities was due to speeding. With 267 such deaths that year, there had been a rise of one-quarter over five years. In the past two decades, one in three accidents in which there was a road death across the U.S. was due to excessive speed. There is no doubt that speeding and traffic violations are an issue, but it does not automatically mean drivers are guilty when they are stopped or that law enforcement adhered to protocol in issuing the ticket.

Fighting back against traffic violations

People who are under the impression that traffic violations are not a major problem may regret it. Accruing points on a driver’s license can eventually lead to a suspension of driving privileges. It will likely result in higher insurance rates and other challenges that are avoidable with a strong defense. Whether the citation takes place during Southern Shield or at any other time, those who are cited for speeding, distracted driving, recklessness or any other traffic infraction should consider their alternatives to combat the charges. A consultation with experienced professionals in criminal defense may help.