Thanks to the generous donation of the use of their billboard, Vickie and Dan Appel have made it possible for the Spink County Coalition to design and put up this catchy sign on the intersection of Highways 281 and 212 across the street from Casey’s. The funds to purchase the billboard were a part of the State Highway Safety Grant the Coalition received, and the design for the billboard was created by Brian Slater Designs.
Spink County is ranked 13th in the state out of the 67 counties for total crashes with 259 incidents occurring in 2019. Clark County had 95, Hand-93, and Faulk-87 during that same time period. Spink County was fortunate not to have any fatal crashes in 2019. Twenty percent of those crashes happened on a Friday. Eleven of those crashes involved alcohol and 4 of them were a result of distracted driving.
The rate of highway fatalities, including alcohol-related fatalities, rises significantly during the annual Fourth of July holiday across the United States and even more so in South Dakota.
The rate of highway deaths during the Independence Day holiday travel period in the U.S. rises by 27% compared with comparable non-holiday time frames, and jumps by 46% in South Dakota, the study found. Meanwhile, the data analysis showed that alcohol-related driving fatalities jumped by 30% across the country and by 67% in South Dakota during the holiday period, the fourth-highest rate increase in the country.
Lee Axdahl, director of the South Dakota Office of Highway Safety, said summertime holidays such as the Fourth of July and the Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends have a confluence of events that make roadway travel more dangerous than at other times. Particularly during the Fourth of July holiday, when local and non-local family gatherings are common, far more motorists are on the road overall and some may not be familiar with their surroundings, Axdahl said.
South Dakota crash data support the idea that impaired drivers are not only more likely to crash but are also more likely to die. In 2017, alcohol was a factor in only 5.6% of total crashes but played a role in 40.5% of fatal crashes. Fatal wrecks involving impairment were also concentrated in the 21-39 age group, with 27 of the 49 recorded alcohol-related deaths falling into that age range in 2017.
Axdahl said good decision-making by all who take to the road – those who imbibe and those who do not – is critical to reducing the risk of injury or death during the upcoming Fourth of July travel period that starts at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, July 3, and ends at 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, July 7. Axdahl noted that his research shows that at any given time in South Dakota, one of 17 drivers encountered on the highway has a DUI conviction on his or her record.
“When you make bad decisions, you may not be the person that gets seriously injured or killed in the crash, and it could be someone else or someone else’s family,” he said. “These things happen in a heartbeat, and nobody wakes up and says today is my day.” -- Lee Axdahl, director of S.D. Office of Highway Safety
(information provided by Bart Pfankuch sdnewswatch.org-2019)
Here are 10 safe driving tips to follow for a safe 4th of July from enddistracteddriving.org
“Thousands and thousands die each year as a result of distracted driving on our nation’s highway,” urges Attorney Joel Feldman, father of a daughter who was killed by a distracted driver. “The death toll rises dramatically during summer months especially for young drivers. We can all make a difference if we just remember to keep our hands on the wheel, eyes on the road, and stop trying to multi -task while we drive.”
Don’t ruin your weekend or your life or that of someone else. Please be safe and have a wonderful 4th of July holiday!