Every car accident fatality is a tragedy, and unfortunately, South Dakota saw a sharp increase in the number of motor vehicle deaths in 2020. The state’s Department of Public Safety recently released a report detailing last year’s traffic accident statistics, and the information is important for all South Dakota residents to know.
According to the Department of Public Safety, 141 people in South Dakota died in car accidents in 2020, which is a 38 percent increase from 2019. In 2020, there were 132 accidents in which fatalities occurred. In 2019, there were 88.
South Dakota officials started keeping records of traffic accidents in 1947. In the years since, 2019 saw the fewest number of fatal crashes and people killed in accidents. This makes the significant increase in fatalities in 2020 surprising. The 2020 total is the highest in South Dakota since 2007.
Speed, alcohol, and failure to wear a seat belt are three leading causes of traffic accident deaths. However, it’s unclear why there was such a steep rise in deaths last year. This disheartening trend appears to be continuing into 2021 as well. So far in 2021, the number of fatalities is even higher than it was in 2020 at the same time of the year.
The Department of Public Safety offers many informative statistics regarding traffic accidents and fatalities. According to their data, there were over 26,000 drivers involved in car crashes in South Dakota last year. Around 13 percent, or 3,500 drivers, sustained injuries. Thursdays and Fridays were the most common days for accidents, and 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. were the most common times of day.
Department of Public Safety secretary Craig Price reports that the department hopes to continue their messaging and enforcement efforts. They plan to work closely with the Office of Highway Safety, Highway Patrol, and local law enforcement to promote safe driving among South Dakota motorists.
Practicing safe driving drastically reduces your risk of a car accident. Most importantly, always wear your seat belt. A large percentage of traffic fatalities could have been prevented if the individual was wearing their seat belt, and it’s one of the simplest steps you can take to stay safe. Your seat belt may not prevent you from being in a car crash, but it can prevent you from crashing into the windshield or being ejected from the vehicle.
Keeping your speed under control is another critical step you can take to avoid a fatal crash. Reducing your speed gives you more time to react if something unexpected happens, and it lessens the severity of accidents if they do occur. You should also always keep a three-second following distance between yourself and the car in front of you.
Dozens of South Dakota drivers and passengers are killed every year due to impaired driving. If you plan to drink, be sure to have a designated driver or use a cab or public transportation to get home. If you see an impaired driver, call 911 to report them. You could save their life, your own life, and the lives of others on the road.
Traffic accidents can cause painful, long-lasting injuries. If you or a loved one has been injured in a car crash, you should work with an attorney as you handle the legal proceedings. Schwebel, Goetz & Sieben serves clients in South Dakota and the surrounding states. We will ensure that you get the compensation you deserve while you focus on resting and recovering after the accident. Contact us any time for a free consultation by calling (612) 377-7777 or toll-free at 1 (800) 752-4265 or visit schwebel.com to fill out a Free Case Evaluation form.