State highways fatality-free during Memorial Day holiday

For the third time in the last four Memorial Day holidays, South Dakota has ended the official reporting period without a highway fatality.

Late reports from the past weekend could change this year’s outcome, but as of mid-afternoon on Tuesday, May 28, the Office of Highway Safety had received no reports of fatal crashes on state roads during the holiday reporting period.

“That’s a great way to start the busy summer travel season,’’ said Col. Craig Price, superintendent of the South Dakota Highway Patrol. “The Highway Patrol had all available troopers out for a high-visibility saturation patrol on Memorial Day, and we used the holiday weekend to kick off a summer-long safety campaign we call ‘Obey the Sign and Avoid the Fine.’’’

The campaign is an initiative to reduce highway crashes and increase safety on South Dakota’s roadways. Statistics show that speeding, impaired driving and other hazardous moving violations are major contributors in crashes, injuries and deaths on the highways. The summer-long campaign will target speed and alcohol in particular for enforcement efforts.

In addition to enforcement, the summer safety campaign will use social media for public education and will partner with the State Department of Transportation for permanent and portable message boards with safe-driving messages on the interstates and other high-traffic areas in South Dakota.

The Memorial Day travel period was fatality-free in 2010 and 2011, Office of Highway Safety records show. A traffic crash killed one person during the 2012 Memorial Day reporting period.

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