The number of traffic crash fatalities in South Dakota rose to 141 last year — an increase of 38% over the previous year.
The South Dakota Department of Public Safety said in 2020, there were 132 crashes in which the fatalities occurred.
In 2019, 102 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes, the lowest in state history since records have been kept beginning in 1947. The number of fatal crashes in 2019 was 88, also a record low.
DPS Secretary Craig Price said the 2020 total is the state’s highest since 2007. He said the department plans to increase its safety and enforcement efforts.
“Our efforts have worked in past years and we will continue our safety messages through the Office of Highway Safety and enforcement efforts between the Highway Patrol and local law enforcement,” he said. “Even one motor vehicle death is one too many and we plan to encourage driver safety.”
DPS said the three main factors associated with motor vehicle fatalities in 2020 were speed, alcohol use and failure to wear a seat belt. So far in 2021, fatality numbers are up compared to the same time in 2020 and those three factors are involved in most fatal crashes again this year, officials said.
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