The Ludowici Police Department recently sponsored a luncheon for the Coastal Area Traffic Enforcement Network.
Area law-enforcement members attended the meeting to discuss how to decrease traffic fatalities by cracking down on speeding, seat belts and DUIs.
CATEN coordinator W. Luther Hires provided information that showed 133 crashes with 349 fatalities in the state of Georgia through April.
Long County has had two crashes with two fatalities, and Liberty County has had four crashes and four fatalities.
Hires said two ways that law enforcement was attempting to decrease crashes was by pushing the Summer HEAT Crackdown and the Click-It-Or-Ticket campaigns, which are sponsored through the governor’s office of highway safety.
According to Hires, the Click-It-Or-Ticket initiative begins May 21 and all motorists — whether they are residents or just passing through — can expect a citation if they are not wearing a seat belt.
“Why? Because too many people in Georgia and across the country are still being killed in traffic crashes where their lives might’ve been saved if they were wearing a seat belt,” Hires said.
Hires said that it is a proven fact that wearing seat belts save lives, and that according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in 2010 alone, seat belts are estimated to have saved 12,546 lives nationally.
Hires said that the Summer Highway Enforcement of Aggressive Traffic (HEAT) is also underway, and with it, law enforcement will be cracking down on DUIs and speeding.
According to Hires, the three top killers in fatal crashes are speed, drunk driving, and not wearing a seat belt. He added that during these initiatives, state law-enforcement agencies will be focusing on speeding vehicles, aggressive drivers and impaired drivers.
LPD Chief T.J. Gaskin and Long County Sheriff Craig Nobles attended the meeting and said that their agencies would be doing their part to make these two initiatives a success.
“We are going to be having concentrated patrols looking for speeders and drunk drivers, and we’re going to do all we can to support these two programs,” Gaskin said.
Nobles said that he supports all of the campaigns but that DUIs are his primary concern.
“DUIs are my main interest. All it takes is a split second for a drunk driver to change his or her life and a person that they might run into,” he said. “If people are going to drink, they need to remember to get a designated driver, because we won’t be giving any warnings when it comes to drinking and driving.”
Counties in the CATEN network include Appling, Bacon, Camden, Charlton, Glynn, Jeff Davis, McIntosh, Pierce, Tattnall, Ware, Wayne, Liberty and Long.
The sponsors for the lunch were Jesup Auto Repair, Pop’s Pizzeria, LudaGraphix, and Compass Worship Center.