South Dakota’s Department of Public Safety is encouraging people who decide to travel this Memorial Day holiday weekend to be safe drivers.
Traffic is expected to be lighter than normal for this holiday weekend because of COVID-19, but state Highway Patrol troopers will still be out helping keep people safe. State Highway Patrol Superintendent Col. Rick Miller says safety is always a priority, but especially this year when many people may not have driven as much lately because they stayed home due to COVID-19.
This year’s Memorial Day crash reporting period starts at 6:00 tonight and ends Monday night. During the 2019 Memorial Day holiday period, there were 185 reported traffic crashes, two fatalities and 31 injuries. The two fatalities were motor vehicle drivers who were not wearing seat belts.
State Highway Safety Office director Lee Axdahl said the number of fatalities in motor vehicle crashes is up more than 27-percent this year compared to the same time last year. He said that in sixteen of those fatalities, people were not wearing seatbelts while alcohol and speeding were the two biggest crash factors.
South Dakota’s deadliest Memorial Day holiday period was in 1980 when 12 people lost their lives from injuries received in five crashes.