Fatal S.D. highway accidents have doubled this year
February 28. 2014 6:00AM
Twenty-four people have died in crashes on South Dakota highways the first two months of this year, and highway safety officials say half of the victims were not wearing seat belts.
A year ago on this date, 13 highway fatalities had been recorded in the state.
While frequent snowfalls have created temporary road conditions that may have contributed to some fatal and injury crashes in January and February, 12 of the 24 victims in the crashes were not earing seat belts, said Lee Axdahl, director of the office of highway safety.
Three people from Sioux Falls died in crashes Feb. 21-23.
As for other fatal accidents, Axdahl said alcohol and speeding or overdriving road conditions in bad weather also contributed to several of the crashes.
Overall, the number of fatalities on highway roads has been decreasing in recent years. In 2003, 203 fatalities were reported. That number dipped to a 10-year-low of 111 in 2011 before rising to 133 in both 2012 and last year.