Officials of the South Dakota Department of Public Safety are encouraging motorists to end summer on a safe note by being safe on the road.
The Labor Day weekend is considered the end of the summer. That means more people are expected on the road as they head to the South Dakota State Fair in Huron, athletic or school events and those final family summer gatherings. This year’s 78-hour Labor Day holiday period for reporting motor vehicle traffic crashes starts at 6 p.m. Friday, Aug. 31, and continues until midnight, Monday, Sept. 3.
“As we know, motor vehicle crashes can happen at any time of the year, holiday or no holiday,” says Lee Axdahl, director of the Office of Highway Safety. “The important thing is that motorists remember those basic safety rules – wear a seatbelt while in a vehicle or helmet on a motorcycle, slow down, watch out for others, don’t drink and drive and don’t get distracted by electronic devices. We ask motorists and passengers to make smart safety choices.”
When traveling on South Dakota highways this holiday weekend, motorists will likely see the Highway Patrol as well. Highway Patrol Superintendent Col. Craig Price says the Patrol will conduct its standard high visibility operation.
“Fatality crashes in South Dakota are up this year when compared to last year. It will take all of us, citizens, visitors and public safety officials alike, to reverse this trend,” Col. Price says. “To kick off Labor Day weekend all available troopers, including me, will be out enforcing our traffic laws. I hope you all have a safe weekend.”
During the 2017 Labor Day reporting period, there were 133 motor vehicle crashes resulting in one fatal and 32 injuries. Out of the 32 injured, 22 were occupants of motor vehicles and 18 were reported to have worn safety restraints.
Both the Office of Highway Safety and Highway Patrol are part of the Department of Public Safety.