S.D. Highway Patrol warns about drinking and driving

S.D. Highway Patrol warns about drinking and driving With more people expected to travel on America's highways during this extended holiday season, this week could be one of the deadliest periods ever for impaired driving fatalities.

To protect your family during this holiday period, the South Dakota Highway Patrol will be in full force to protect the citizens from impaired drivers.

"We will be out conducting sobriety checkpoints and saturation patrols throughout southeastern South Dakota to remove the impaired driver from the highways," said Sgt. Pete Jensen, supervisor for the Vermillion/Yankton area troopers.

"After years of gradual improvement, fatalities in alcohol-related crashes are on

the rise nationally," said Troop-er Nick Vlasman, Vermillion. "The National Highway Traf-fic Safety Administration etimates that in 2000, 17,380 people were killed in alcohol-related crashes, representing approximately 41 percent of the 41,945 total traffic fatalities. In 2001, 17,448 people were killed in alcohol-related crashes, representing 41 percent of the 42,116 people killed in all traffic crashes."

"South Dakota statistics show that we are slightly above the national average. We cannot ignore the problem � drinking and driving kills," said Trooper Terry Nelson. "In 2001, 171 people were killed on South Dakota roads and 75 people were killed in alcohol related accidents. Our message is simple � don't drink and drive. You'll lose."

The South Dakota Highway Patrol reminds everyone that impairment begins with the first drink and impairment is against the law. If you're feeling "buzzed" you are impaired and if you drive you likely will be caught. For more information, visit the South Dakota Highway Patrol Web site at www.hp.state.sd.us.

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