What is Operation Southern Slow Down?

July 31, 2022 Criminal Defense, Florida Panhandle Arrests, News & Announcements

The Florida Department of Transportation is working together with the Florida Highway Patrol for the collaboration on “Operation Southern Slow Down.” Florida is following suit with Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, and South Carolina.

The goal of the operation is to stop reckless driving and speeding along the state highways. Police are hoping to save lives by enforcing strict surveillance of highway areas during the month of July. What this means is that there will be a lot more law enforcement officers and state troopers on the road, likely to target anyone who is speeding.

In Florida specifically, police plan to keep a close eye on all of the major interstates—Interstate 75, 10, and 95. Along with looking for drivers who are speeding, police will also be on the lookout for drivers who are not abiding by the state’s mandatory seatbelt law.

The operation was initially created in the summer of 2017, when the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) realized the peak travel season caused a trend in speeding drivers.

What does this mean for the average driver? In short, it means watching your speed. There will be a large increase in speed checks and state troopers looking for anyone who is speeding or in violation of traffic regulation. Even though most traffic violations only receive a fine, in some cases you could face criminal charges.

We’ll cover statistics on car accidents within the last year, as well as common traffic offenses in Florida.

Fatal Traffic Crash Statistics

According to the Federal Highway Administration, the number of miles traveled in 2021 increased by 11.2%, or by about 325 billion miles. As a result, NHTSA found that deaths caused by traffic violations rose in 44 states in the year 2021. The reason for the increase is assumed to be from higher driving speeds and increased miles driven.

NHTSA released data in May that showed more people died on U.S. highways in 2021 than in any year since 2005. There was an estimated 42,915 people who died in car accidents in 2021, which is a 10.5 increase from 2020 which was 38,824. This projection is the largest annual increase in the Fatality Analysis Reporting System’s history.

The following are additional notable increases found by the NHTSA:

  • Fatalities in drivers over 65 went up 14%
  • Fatalities of pedestrians went up 13%
  • Fatalities in crashes involving large trucks went up 13%
  • Fatalities in multi-car crashes went up 16%
  • Fatalities in daytime crashes went up 11%
  • Fatalities of motorcyclists went up 9%
  • Fatalities of bicyclists went up 5%
  • Fatalities in speeding-related crashes went up 5%
  • Fatalities in alcohol-related crashes went up 5%

Traffic Offenses in Florida

Although most traffic violations will just result in fines or a suspended license, there are violations that can lead to a criminal conviction.

Some of the more common traffic violations include the following:

Another common crime to be charged with during the process of a traffic stop is possession of drugs or unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon. One reason for this is the police officer may either pull someone over and, then smell or plainly see drugs in the car. Alternatively, the police officer may ask you to search your car. When the police ask to search the car, it is always recommended to politely decline the search. Always be respectful, but know that you do not have to consent to a search. You also do not have to answer the questions of the police. The police do not need to know where you are coming from or where you are going in order to complete the traffic stop and issue a ticket. Answering these questions can possibly end you in more legal trouble. Learn more about your rights in police encounters here.

Criminal traffic violations can result in penalties that range from a second-degree misdemeanor up to a first-degree felony depending on the severity of the case. To find out more about the penalties for traffic violations and the various resources in Florida, read our page here.

Finding a Defense Attorney in Tallahassee, Florida

If you or a loved one have been accused of a traffic related crime, it is important to prioritize reaching out to a skilled defense attorney in your area. Getting in trouble with the police for a traffic related offense can result in expensive fines, getting your license suspended, and potentially even jail time. The best way to ensure your freedom is to build a strong defense with a Tallahassee criminal defense lawyer. Pumphrey Law Firm works with clients across the state, and will stand in your corner and fight for your freedom. For a free consultation call (850) 681-7777 or leave an online message today.

Written by Karissa Key

Back to Top