Drivers urged to be safe during Memorial Day weekend travel
PIERRE, S.D. — South Dakota Department of Public Safety officials are taking steps to ensure drivers drive safely during this Memorial Day weekend.
This Memorial Day marks the start of the summer travel season and will see more people on the highways, which will lead to an increased risk of vehicle crashes.
During last year’s Memorial Day weekend, South Dakota had a total of 112 crashes, 35 people injured, and one fatality. The Department of Public Safety begins reporting Memorial Day crashes on Friday at 6 p.m. and ends its report Monday night at 11:59 p.m.
Officials are hoping to see those statistics go down this year, and may see just that based on this year’s current accident statistics. This year, South Dakota vehicle fatalities have decreased dramatically from last year’s totals. As of Monday, there have been 19 fatalities compared to the 43 fatalities at the same time in 2018.
The South Dakota Highway Patrol and Office of Highway Safety want to ensure that this weekend’s holiday is marked with safe driving.
“Especially with the hard, late winter we had this year in South Dakota, many people are anxious to get out on the roads in good weather and travel,” says Office of Highway Safety Director Lee Axdahl. “But it is important for drivers to remember they are not the only ones on the road. They need to always be careful, watch for others and most importantly wear their seat belts.”
South Dakota Highway Patrol troopers will be out in force this weekend, making sure drivers are obeying the laws, particularly when it comes to seat belt use.
Highway Patrol Major Rick Miler says, “We know people are anxious to get where they are going for the holiday, but it does not do anyone any good if they don’t get there safely.”