During a Thursday morning stop in North Bryan County, Gov. Nathan Deal announced the addition of 60 commercial-vehicle enforcement officers to improve highway safety and help reduce motor-vehicle crashes in Georgia.
The Georgia Department of Public Safety and the Georgia Ports Authority are partnering to fund this investment, weeks after a series of high-profile wrecks involving tractor-trailers on both Interstates 16 and 95, including one chain-reaction crash on April 22 that killed five Georgia Southern University nursing students on I-16 near the Highway 280 exit.
“As Georgia’s population and its economy continue to grow, we must adapt to meet the needs of a vibrant state,” Deal said while flanked by Georgia State Patrol troopers and Motor Carrier Compliance officers at the weigh station on westbound I-16 at mile marker 144 in Black Creek. “While an expansion of the Savannah Harbor means jobs for Georgians and a boost to our economy, it will also mean an increase in commercial-vehicle traffic. The safety of our drivers and the effective transportation of goods are of critical importance. This investment is a significant step forward in meeting these goals.”
There are currently 234 commercial vehicle enforcement officers serving in 10 regions. The additional officers will patrol areas identified by the Department of Public Safety as “high-crash corridors.” These areas include I-16 and I-95, as well as the Atlanta metro area, and the area south of Atlanta along I-85.
"With Gov. Deal's announcement of this initiative today, the Department of Public Safety is able to fulfill a critical component of our long-term strategic plan,” Department of Public Safety Commissioner Mark McDonough said. "This initiative will bring the staffing levels of our Motor Carrier Compliance division to 100 percent, and it could not have come at a more strategic time with the beginning of the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project. The department's primary mission is traffic enforcement and public safety, and this will better equip our officers to serve the citizens of the state of Georgia as well as those that choose to travel and conduct business here."
Deal and the Department of Public Safety announced this new initiative along the I-16 corridor in Bryan County, an area that recently has suffered two high-profile, deadly accidents involving commercial truck traffic.
Additional safety measures have also been implemented as part of this campaign, including:The Georgia Targeting Aggressive Cars and Trucks Program, Operation Safe Drive on 95 — a joint operation between Georgia officers and their commercial-vehicle enforcement counterparts in surrounding statesJust Pull ’em Over — an enforcement campaign involving local agencies through the traffic-enforcement networks with the Governor’s Office of Highway SafetyOngoing partnerships with the Georgia Motor Trucking Association and the Georgia Motorcoach Operators AssociationCompliance reviews and safety audits on Georgia-based carriers by Motor Carrier Compliance division officersConcentrated patrols to enforce speeding, distracted driving and safety-belt violations and to conduct Level 3 inspections. A Level 3 inspection includes examination of the driver’s license, medical-examiner’s certificate, pre-trip inspection, driver’s record-of-duty status, hours of service, seat-belt and hazardous materials/dangerous goods requirements.
Bryan County News Managing Editor Jason Wermers contributed to this article.