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DPS Officials Urge Safe Driving During Christmas Week

PIERRE, S.D. – South Dakota’s Department of Public Safety reminds people that a safe Christmas holiday begins when they get behind the wheel.

The Highway Patrol and the Office of Highway Safety urge drivers to be careful when driving for Christmas, whether it is across town or across the state. With more people on the road for the holiday, Highway Patrol Superintendent Col. Rick Miller says it is important everyone watches out for each other.

“It is easy with so many things going on to forget about staying safe while driving,” he says. “But one mistake – getting distracted by your electronic devices, drinking and then driving, not wearing your seatbelt or not slowing down – can lead to a regrettable Christmas for many.”

This year’s Christmas holiday reporting period for motor vehicle traffic crashes covers 30 hours, from 6 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 24, through midnight, Wednesday, Dec. 25. During last year’s 102-hour long reporting period, there were 173 reported traffic crashes resulting in 48 injuries and two deaths.  Of the two fatalities, one was a pedestrian and the other was a pickup driver who was ejected after not wearing a seatbelt.

“It always comes down to this – making the holiday season memorable for the right reason,” says Miller. “That doesn’t mean just the drivers, but also making sure the passengers, especially children, are properly restrained.”

South Dakota’s deadliest Christmas holiday period was in 1976 when 10 people died from injuries received in five crashes.  The last fatality-free Christmas Holiday weekend occurred in 2015.


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