Operation 'Summer Heat' begins to stop speeding

SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - A word of caution to drivers with a lead foot:  Operation 'Summer Heat' kicks off Friday.  It's a statewide law enforcement effort to crack down on speeders.

REPORTER:  "Have you ever gotten a ticket?"


Ark-La-Tex driver Scott Gibson readily admitted getting a number of speeding tickets for one simple reason.  "You get there quicker."  We caught up with Gibson and other drivers at a gas station just off Interstate 20 in Bossier City.

Grants from the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission will pay for extra speeding patrols for the agencies taking part, including the LA State Police.  The Caddo Sheriff's office, along with Shreveport and Bossier City Police are also taking part in 'Summer Heat' this year.  Last year alone, officers wrote 53-hundred speeding tickets statewide.  This year's speed patrols will continue through mid-August.

We wanted to conduct our own experiment to see if we drove exactly 60-miles per hour if we'd get passed a lot.  Guess what?  We were passed left and right.  In fact, we found speeding so pervasive because drivers simply kept up with the flow of traffic, rather than being repeatedly passed by going the speed limit.

"Just because they don't have a ticket doesn't mean they haven't speeded," said driver Cassie Young.  She agreed with a recent state study, showing that 90-percent of Louisiana drivers believe speeders pose a danger to other motorists.  "I, uh, got a ticket not too long ago, actually couple months ago for speeding.  So, if you're doing it you might as well get a ticket for it."

We then traveled to the Petro truck stop off I-20 in Shreveport to speak with truck drivers, where we discovered speeding directly impacts their livelihood.  Just ask trucker Mayzelle Lipsey about a speeding ticket.  "I have to pay for it.  My company don't pay for it.  I pay for it.  So, that would be stupid if I were to go out there and drive real fast, that's on me.  So, I don't do that."

Government figures show speeding plays a role in 3-out-of every 10 fatal crashes, often clogging-up traffic for hours at a time.  And for truckers, like Jerry Oxendine on his way home to North Carolina, time is money if they're late.  "Some places you have to, you know, you have to re-schedule appointments.  That takes three different, you know, two or three extra days to schedule it."

And with speeding tickets that can reach as high as 500-dollars, this 'Summer Heat' crackdown could attract drivers' attention quickly.