The Union Recorder

July 5, 2013

June HEAT program shows safer driving

Kyle Collins
The Union-Recorder

MILLEDGEVILLE — The second month of the Milledgeville Police Department’s HEAT initiative focused on the Martin Luther King Jr. Drive and Glynn Street corridor.

The RADAR Speed Detection Trailer checked a total of 6,952 cars during the 12-day June grace period. Sgt. Thomas Smith, traffic supervisor for MPD, said just 10 percent were in the citable zone at or over 61 miles per hour.

The vehicles clocked averaged 50.9 mph.

MPD officers wrote around 15 warnings and delivered 35 Super Speeder brochures.

During the enforcement period the rest of June, police cited 40 drivers. Of that total, 34 were speeding. Smith said the other six were split between DUI, seatbelt and equipment violations.

After starting on North Columbia Street in May, MPD is pleased with the program. Officers continue to patrol the busy highway in addition to the HEAT focus areas.

“It’s doing better than we thought it would,” Smith said. “We are still going back to North Columbia Street and doing a little maintenance up there. The ones that we are getting are a pretty high number at the 65 and 70 mph range.”

HEAT moves to North Jefferson Street this month. The area will be a slightly different format.

Smith said police would allow a grace period from July 1 to the 10. Enforcement kicks in the July 11 through the 21.

“We aren’t concentrating solely on speeding. We are going for more distracted driving and general unsafe driving aspects,” Smith said.

MPD will be on the look out for improper land changes, failure to yield, following too close and improper cell phone usage.

“That’s what we are looking for on Jefferson Street,” Smith said. “Some of those factors contributed to the fatality there earlier this year.”

This past January a two-car accident near the intersection of North Jefferson Street and Briarcliff outside of the Flash Food Store ended tragically for a 19-year-old Sparta female.

Starting May 1, police officers began Milledgeville HEAT, a 120-day program focused on aggressive enforcement of high speed, aggressive and distracted driving.

The program is intended to reduce the number of unsafe motorists and traffic accidents.

Each month a new HEAT location is chosen from gathered data on roadways with high numbers of citizen complaints and traffic accidents.

Officers provide educational information on the dangers of high speed driving and the proper use of seatbelts among other proper roadway practices.  

Milledgeville HEAT lasts until late August. The goal of the program is to reduce the number of motor vehicle accidents caused by speed and aggressive, impaired or distracted driving while keeping the citizens and visitors of the City of Milledgeville as safe as possible.