NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – The Tennessee Highway Patrol is warning drivers to hit the brakes as they begin a week-long operation to crackdown on speeders with the Operation Southern Slow Down initiative this week.

Motorists across Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, Florida and South Carolina who feel the need for speed can expect to see blue lights in their rear-view mirror as troopers begin the multi-state operation from July 18 to 24. 

According to the Nashville Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the United States has seen an increase in overall traffic fatalities and speed-related traffic deaths in the last two years. In fact, more than 650 people have died in crashes just in Tennessee this year, which is down from eight percent last year. 

“Speeding drivers are almost three times more likely to be involved in fatal or serious-injury crashes,” said Buddy Lewis, Director of the Tennessee Office of Highway Safety. “Speeding increases the risk of losing control of your vehicle and threatens the safety of everyone around you. All we ask is for voluntary compliance to ensure everyone can make it home safely.”

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The NHTSA says the initiative began in 2017 and so far, has seen a 14 percent reduction in speed-related traffic deaths from the week before to the week of Operation Southern Slow Down. 

An increase in state troopers and local law enforcement officers will be present on interstates and highways during the initiative.