Public Safety officials remind citizens to stay safe over July Fourth holiday

PIERRE, S.D. (Press Release) – South Dakota Department of Public Safety officials remind citizens to make sure the anticipated fun of this week’s July Fourth holiday does not turn tragic.

This year’s Fourth of July traffic reporting period covers 102 hours from 6 p.m. Wednesday, July 3, to midnight, Sunday, July 7. During the 30-hour holiday reporting period in 2018, there were 57 motor vehicle traffic crashes with one fatal crash near Yankton resulting in five fatalities.

“It doesn’t matter how long the holiday reporting period is; it still comes down to common sense as it does every day,” said Lee Axdahl, director of the Office of Highway Safety. “It still is about being safe on the roads. Slow down, don’t get distracted, don’t drink and drive and wear a seatbelt.”

This holiday is a busy travel period. Highway Patrol Superintendent Col. Rick Miller says more troopers also will be out on the roads as well, working to protect citizens.

“Many people will be rushing to get to their destination and that impatience can lead to crashes,” he said. “We encourage you to take your time and make sure you and others safely reach their destinations.”

There were 11 deaths recorded for the July 4, 1967 holiday period which is the worst on record for South Dakota.  The last fatality free July 4th holiday period was in 2007.