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More random road checks in Bulloch for next 3 months
Stan York - photo by FILE
    Local law enforcement will be stopping a lot more drivers over the next few months as “Operation Rolling Thunder” lowers the boom on unsafe drivers.
    An “unacceptable number of traffic crashes, injuries and fatalities in Bulloch County,” as well as an increase of “high-risk and unsafe drivers in this high-crash corridor” prompted the Georgia Office of Highway Safety to bring the operation to the Bulloch County  area, said Jim Shuler, GOHS Director of Public Affairs.
    This means over the nest 90 days, local law enforcement agencies will be working together to conduct safety checks throughout the county. The effort combines the Georgia State Patrol Post 45, Bulloch County Sheriff’s Office, Statesboro Police Department, Georgia Southern University Police and other agencies.
    “You may see anywhere from 25 to 75 units of this task force,” said Statesboro Police Chief Stan York. “Safety is our number one priority out there on  the roadway.”
    A bevy of patrol cars from several agencies gathered Wednesday afternoon on Interstate 16 at the U.S. 301 South junction, kicking off the 90-day operation with a rolling motorcade, Shuler said. “ The three-minute motorcade will kick-off  ...  a three-month crack-down on drunk drivers, illegal speeders and unbelted motorists in Statesboro and surrounding Bulloch County.”
    This isn’t the first “Operation Rolling Thunder.” Law enforcement representatives from   previous  90-day  crackdowns were present at the news event Wednesday, sharing details of  success in Barrow and Oconee counties and to “‘Pass the Thunderbolt’ to the new Bulloch County  Thunder Task Force,” he said.
    “We’ll be all over Bulloch County,” York said. The check point locations and times will not be announced, and will focus on areas where there have been high percentages of DUI, speeding, reckless and other high-risk drivers, he said.
    Within the city of Statesboro alone, the number of accidents decreased slightly from 2,087  in 2007  to  2,071 in 2008, but the percentage of alcohol-related accidents almost doubled, he said.
    In 2007  there were  26 alcohol-related accidents inside the city limits, but in 2008 the number ballooned to 48 accidents resulting from intoxicated drivers, he said.
    “I don’t know why,” he said, adding that traffic stops overall increased by  only nine percent and warnings only increased by eight percent from 2007 to 2008.
    Bulloch County Sheriff Lynn Anderson said deputies will participate in  the check points as well.
    “We’ll be fully involved over the next 90 days,” he said. “We want to reduce fatalities and enforce traffic laws.”
    Not only will deputies be helping with check points, they will be increasing patrols in response to complaints about speeding vehicles, reckless drivers and other traffic concerns in the area, he said. “We’ll have a pretty good show of force and maybe save some lives.”
    The high visibility  of having large numbers of law enforcement units at a check point emphasizes the task force’s seriousness in reducing accidents, injuries and fatalities.
    Georgia State Patrol Cpl. Robert Balckom and University Police Chief Ken Brown met with York, Anderson and several others Wednesday before the Operation Rolling Thunder kick-off motorcade to discuss the 90-day efforts. Officers from multiple agencies also set up a command center at GSU’s Bishop Building at Paulson Stadium after the motorcade.
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