South Dakota Traffic Deaths Rise During COVID-19 Pandemic
Officials in South Dakota stated that deaths due to traffic accidents increased this year by 38%, but the number of miles that people have been driving this year have gone down considerably.
Tony Mangan is the spokesman for South Dakota’s Department of Public Safety, and he announced recently that 58 South Dakotans died in car crashes this year from January 1 to July 24. In 2019, 42 people died in car crashes during the same time period.
This year, the number of miles South Dakotans drove went down a considerable amount. In April, people drove 36% fewer miles and 20% fewer miles in May according to Jeff Brosz. Mr. Brosz is a transportation specialist with the State Department of Transportation.
According to Brosz, the statistics stated above are similar to statistics reported in other states beginning in February. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, people haven’t been driving as much, but it appears that driving habits are getting back to normal this month. Mr. Brosz stated that the number of miles driven in South Dakota usually increases approximately 1% every year.
Tony Mangan stated that traffic accidents were caused this year by the same things that caused them in previous years, and that is driving under the influence, failing to wear a seat belt and speeding.
New Driving Habits
There appears to be something new going on in South Dakota and the rest of the country. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, many people in this country are engaged in super speeding. State troopers believe that people are taking advantage of the ability to drive faster than usual because traffic has been so light these days.
According to law enforcement officials, many men began to feel claustrophobic at home, and when they saw how empty the roads were, some saw this as an opportunity to begin driving at higher speeds.
All across the country, people have been driving at least 150 miles per hour or more. Troopers in South Dakota reported that they were issuing fewer tickets for speeding, but they were giving more tickets to people driving significantly above the speed limit.
It is true that South Dakota’s highways were emptier, but that is no longer the case now that we are in July.
According to Brosz of the Department of Transportation, traffic on the highways and interstates was down. In March, it was down 14%, and in April, it was down 36%. The numbers were also down 20% in May. In June, they were only down by 9%, and they were the lowest in July at 4%. This is in comparison to the figures listed last year.
On the interstates in rural areas, the decreases are even more pronounced. In March, the total number of miles driven were down by 13%. In April, they were down by 40%, and in May, they were down by 25%. They were also down in June by 11% and July by 6%.
Despite these decreases in traffic, it’s important to remember to protect yourself against the dangers on the roads by always wearing a seatbelt, and do not drive distracted or while intoxicated.
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