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Fatalities in highway wrecks up compared to 2013

Posted: Thursday, Feb 27th, 2014

PIERRE — Half of the victims of 24 highway crashes in South Dakota in the first two months of the year were not buckled up, a state official said.

“The unnecessary death of a family member or friend is heart-breaking,” said Lee Axdahl, director of the state Office of Highway Safety. “It is difficult to accept the fact that some people still get behind the wheel and don’t take the simple precaution of buckling up.”

A year ago, 13 highway fatalities had been recorded in January and February.

While frequent snowfalls have created temporary road conditions that may have contributed to some fatal and injury crashes, 12 of the 24 victims in the crashes this year were not wearing seatbelts.

Axdahl said alcohol and speeding or overdriving road conditions in bad weather also contributed to several of the recent crashes.

“The alarming number of fatalities on the roads already this year tells me we must continue to send strong messages that everyone on the road needs to make smart choices for the safety of all of us,” he said.

“That means not drinking and driving, obeying speed limits, always wearing seatbelts and treating the task of driving a vehicle as the most important job you have,” Axdahl said.

For the complete article see the 02-26-2014 issue.

Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 02-26-2014 paper.

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