Distracted driving and not using a seat belt are the two issues that plague the list of 29 vehicle fatalities in recent weeks on South Dakota roads.

After 29 vehicle fatalities in the last two months, South Dakota Department of Public Safety officials are again stressing the need for driver and passenger safety.

September, 15 fatalities

October, 14 fatalities

November so far, 3 fatalities


According to Lee Axdahl, Highway Safety Director,16 were not wearing seatbelts.“Too many fatalities, too many families grieving,” says Axdahl. “Many of these fatal crashes didn’t have to happen if people paid attention to driving and most importantly wore seatbelts. It is about protecting you and others.”  The concern mounts with Axdahl as to the cause of the collisions.  "Statistics indicate that 10 of the fatal crashes occurred when vehicles went off the road and rolled. Nine people died after being ejected from their vehicle; most because they were not wearing seatbelts."

“Until you have to a respond to a scene like that, you don’t understand the devastation such crashes cause,” says Col. Craig Price, superintendent of the South Dakota Highway Patrol. “It is not only traumatic for the families, but also for the first responders who rush to the scene. If you are buckled in, you have a better chance to survive if your vehicle rolls.”

As the News Director of Results Radio, I see the Crash and fatality reports come in frequently.  Every time I scan the information, the first things I look for is whether or not those involved were buckled up.  It is absolutely incredible to read the words over and over again: "fatality" and "not wearing a seatbelt."

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