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Operation Thunder task force cracks down on driving offenses

Friday, Feb. 15, 2013 7:46 PM
Last updated Saturday, Feb. 16, 2013 12:11 AM
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Operation Thunder, a 90-day, state-assisted effort to crack down on driving offenses, netted 140 citations and several arrests Thursday on its first day in Richmond County, according to statistics released by the Sheriff’s Office.

Operation Thunder, begun by the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety in 2007, concentrates patrols along interstates, state routes and rural roads in a particular area during a 90-day crackdown on aggressive and impaired drivers. The task force generally deploys a combined safety belt, speed and DUI enforcement mobilization with local law enforcement.

The effort was timely after Richmond County saw an increase in traffic-related fatalities in the past two years with 44 deaths in 2012 and 35 in 2011. Officials said they hope to increase motorist safety.

On Thursday the task force held road checks on the 3400 block of Milledgeville Road and at Old Savannah at Molly Pond roads resulting in 140 citations, not including arrests.


The following citations and arrests were made Thursday, the first day of Operation Thunder:



Suspended license 13

Child Restraint 24

Seat belt violations (adults) 4

No insurance 5

Other 14

Arrest warrants served 2

Narcotics arrests 4



Suspended license 11

Child restraint 9

Seat belt violations (adult) 13

No insurance 2

Other 34

Source: Richmond County Sheriff’s Office

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curly123053 02/15/13 - 09:51 pm
Good Job !!

Way to go !!!

specsta 02/16/13 - 04:42 am
Road Safety

No warnings given, huh? While I am a huge champion of safe driving and road safety, I would hope that this task force would not focus on writing citations, but on helping to educate the public about safety. Also, a $300 citation might be chump change to some folks, but to someone else it could mean their kids have no food to eat.

I can understand a written citation for aggressive driving, speeding, etc. but a verbal warning would be more appropriate for things less serious.

Also, this whole idea of road block is a bit Draconian and is probably unconstitutional. Why would the police have the right to detain a citizen without probable cause or suspicion? What law gives them that right? Your vehicle cannot be searched without probable cause or without suspicion that you have committed a crime, nor do you have to answer any questions. You can submit documentation (license, insurance, etc.) but beyond that, a roadblock stop is just basically motorist intimidation.

It seems that the most effective way to combat unsafe drivers would be actual patrols on the roadways with officers who can observe violations and intercept those drivers.

justputtin 02/16/13 - 08:49 am
Good job is right

Look at the DUI's! Someone is more concerned about people's "rights" than doing what IS right. If you're not doing anything wrong then you don't get a ticket. What about the rights of law abiding people to be able to drive without a bunch of impaired drivers? Give me a break.

Discussionstarter 02/16/13 - 12:55 pm
Love it

I hope they spend time on I-20 at BJ Expressway and the SC bridge. You will also do well on Riverwatch. Please don't forget Furys Ferry. This is the best law enforcement activity I have seen!!!!!

specsta 02/16/13 - 01:39 pm

Augusta has the worst drivers I have ever witnessed in the various cities in which I've lived. There is no understanding of basic traffic laws or of simple laws of physics. Most people drive like they got their license out of a popcorn package.


Motorists should know their rights as US citizens when encountering a traffic stop or a police roadblock. To say that we must ignore our rights in order to catch DUI offenders is just wrong. No one should should feel compelled to give up ANY right as a citizen, just to appease law enforcement.

Trust me, if you do not know your rights, the police most certainly aren't going to pat you on the head and explain them to you. I support citizens rights, just as well as proper police procedure, so that there is no confusion going on.

rational thought trumps emotion
rational thought trumps emotion 02/17/13 - 04:13 am
Great Job RCSO

Excellent job by the RCSO teaming up with other agencies and the Governor’s Office to help save lives in our area. As for the constitutionality, road check have been ruled on over and over and are clearly in the best interest of the motoring public, are constitutional and are since driving is a privilege, not a right, there is no hardship placed on anyone. The RCSO facebook page which had all of the stats listed showed the warning citations issued which were more than double that of the actual arrests and citations.

Most of these arrests were for DUI, wanted felons, drugs, persons without insurance or valid driver’s license, etc. and tickets were for children not in car seats or buckled up – all of which are in the best interest of our community.

While I agree we should “know our rights” the police are within their right (actually it is their job) to conduct road checks, search vehicles where they smell or detect the odor of alcohol or drugs, etc. and you have no right to deny a search. It really is pretty simple, over 95% of those at road checks are cleared in 30 seconds or less with no negative police interaction – simply obey the laws. It’s not like we don’t know and aren’t continually reminded of the laws of the road.

specsta 02/17/13 - 10:34 pm
It's A Two-Way Street

rational thought trumps emotion wrote: "...and you have no right to deny a search."

And the police HAVE NO RIGHT to ask for a search without probable cause.

I would hope that these officers are in compliance with the Supreme Court ruling regarding probable cause before any search is even thought about being executed on an innocent civilian.

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