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State Officials Urge Safety During July 4th Celebration

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Contact: Tony Mangan, Public Information Officer, 773-6196



State Officials Urge Safety During July 4th Celebration


PIERRE, S.D. – South Dakota’s Department of Public Safety wants people to enjoy their July Fourth celebrations, but in a safe way.


With more people traveling for the holiday, that means more chances for motor vehicle crashes. Last year during the 78-hour holiday reporting period, there were 131 motor vehicle crashes resulting in 47 injuries and two fatalities, both on motorcycles.


“It always comes down to common sense,” says Lee Axdahl, director of the DPS Office of Highway Safety. “This holiday should be a fun time, full of good memories. But too often, the wrong choices made while driving make this holiday a memorable one for all of the wrong reasons. Everyone believes bad crashes will happen to other families, never theirs.”


This year’s holiday reporting period runs from 6 p.m. Friday, June 30, through midnight, Tuesday, July 4.  Highway Patrol Superintendent Col. Craig Price says troopers also will be on the road, making sure people obey the traffic rules.


“Safe driving never takes a holiday,” says the Colonel. “We encourage motorists to slow down, watch for others, don’t get distracted by electronic devices, use a designated driver if needed and always wear a seatbelt.”


This holiday also includes an added feature – fireworks. With dry conditions in many parts of South Dakota, that also heightens the potential of fires starting because of fireworks.


“Everybody likes a good fireworks show, but it is always important to be safe,” says Fire Marshal Paul Merriman. “We really encourage people to use only legal fireworks, read the instructions, not discharge them around people or buildings and always have water on hand just in case.”


Since some individual cities may adopt fireworks limits that are stricter than state law, Merriman suggests that citizens also check local ordinances and regulations first.