24 people have died in crashes on South Dakota highways during the first two months of 2014, and highway safety officials say half of the victims were not wearing seatbelts.

A year ago on this date, 13 highway fatalities had been recorded in the state.

While frequent snowfalls have created temporary road conditions that may have contributed to some fatal and injury crashes in January and February, 12 of the 24 victims in the crashes this year were not wearing seatbelts, said Lee Axdahl, director of the South Dakota Office of Highway Safety.

Axdahl said alcohol and speeding or overdriving road conditions in bad weather also contributed to several of the recent crashes.  [Source: aberdeennews.com]