HP ‘Operation Safe’ campaign successful

South Dakota may have experienced its first highway fatality-free Thanksgiving holiday in a decade, preliminary reports to the Department of Public Safety indicate.

Statistics from Public Safety's Office of Accident Records show that 2003 was the last Thanksgiving travel period without a recorded highway fatality in South Dakota. Late reports from the past weekend could change this year's outcome, but as of mid-day Monday, Nov. 26, the Office of Accident Records had received no reports of fatal crashes in South Dakota during the period.

To drive that point home, the Highway Patrol kicked off the holiday travel period on Wednesday, Nov. 21, with a high-visibility Operation Safe campaign. That statewide effort involved nearly every uniformed Highway Patrol member. The primary purpose of Operation Safe was to remind motorists to make safe and responsible driving decisions during their holiday travel.

Statewide during the day-long Operation Safe campaign on Nov. 21, troopers responded to 31 crashes during the operation, made six DUI arrests and nine drug arrests and assisted 38 motorists on the highway.

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