South Dakota Traffic Fatalities up Significantly in First Part of 2021
Fatalities on South Dakota roads, already at an all-time high in 2020, have seen another sharp increase during the first half of this year.
In Forum, using figures from the South Dakota Department of Public Safety (DPS), is reporting that traffic-related deaths in the state are up 30 percent from January to June of 2021.
Lack of seat belt use is being blamed for a large part of that increase.
According to DPS figures, in 47% of the fatalities, the victim was not wearing a seatbelt.
That's a trend that's been developing in the Mount Rushmore State for a while now.
In 2018, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ranked South Dakota dead last among the states where people use restraints on a regular basis - just 69 percent, compared to the national average of 87 percent.
Despite the number of vehicle crashes decreasing by more than 2,700 from 2019 to 2020 (20,391 to 17,599), the death toll on South Dakota roads grew by 40 percent during that time, from 102 two years ago to 141 last year. That's despite fewer people being behind the wheel during the COVID-19 pandemic.