Operation Thunder a success? Not yet says RCSO - WFXG FOX54 Augusta - Your News One Hour Earlier

Operation Thunder a success? Not yet says RCSO

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AUGUSTA, GA (WFXG) -

If you've been driving Richmond County roads lately, you've probably seen the blue lights of Operation Thunder.

It's a joint operation between the Governor's Office of Highway Safety and the Richmond Co. Sheriff's Office aiming to make Augusta roads safer.

"In the last two years, we've seen a 131% increase in deaths," says Lt. Lewis Blanchard with RCSO Community Services Division. "That's 44 last year."

He says deputies and state troopers have been out in force, looking to reduce traffic crashes.

"On a weekly basis now, we're looking at statistics on where the wrecks occurred, time of day the wrecks occurred, and how the wreck occurred," Blanchard says. "From there, we're deploying our personnel to make sure that we can make sure we can try to help solve that problem."

Just in the past few days, deputies have handed out over 200 citations, including 41 DUI arrests.

Because of that high number of citations, Blanchard says Operation Thunder hasn't been a success yet.

"To be honest, no. Because, actually, our stats are high right now," he explains. "Our goal is zero arrests, zero citations."

He says the ultimate goal is voluntary compliance of the law by Richmond County drivers.

"Going out there and writing citations isn't what our main goal is," Blanchard says. "Hopefully as the operation progresses, when we're doing road checks, you're actually going to see less citations written and less arrests for DUIs. That's our goal."

If the Sheriff's Office can see those kind of results, Blanchard would then consider Operation Thunder a success.

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