PIERRE, S.D. (Press Release) – South Dakota’s Highway Patrol is joining the Western States Traffic Safety Coalition (WSTSC) in a special effort this New Year’s Eve to reduce the number of impaired drivers on the road.
“Impaired drivers, whether through use of drugs or alcohol, are dangerous,” said Col. Rick Miller, superintendent of the South Dakota Highway Patrol. “We are working with other states to make sure people understand that such behavior is illegal and will not be tolerated.”
Other agencies involved in the coalition are the Arizona Department of Public Safety, California Highway Patrol, Colorado State Patrol, Idaho State Police, Montana Highway Patrol, Nevada Highway Patrol, Oregon State Police, Utah Highway Patrol, Washington State Patrol and the Wyoming Highway Patrol.
Nationally, during the past five years, an average of 300 people have died in impaired driving crashes the week between Christmas and New Year. Last year, there were 10,142 people killed nationwide in impaired driving crashes accounting for nearly one-third of the yearly driving fatalities. The WSTSC has made it a priority to educate the public about the dangers of impaired driving while also enforcing the laws in each state .
The 2021 New Year’s holiday period for reporting motor vehicle traffic crashes covers 78 hours, beginning at 6 p.m. Thursday, Dec, 31, and ending at midnight on Sunday, Jan. 3. Last year in South Dakota, there were 61 reported traffic crashes that resulted in zero deaths and 23 injuries. Of the 23 injuries, 11 were a result of alcohol-related crashes.
The Highway Patrol is part of the Department of Public Safety.