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Governor Proclaims Thursday Safe Driving Day
South Dakota Ag Connection - 04/20/2017

Gov. Dennis Daugaard has proclaimed Thursday as Safe Driving Day in South Dakota, marking the first time such a proclamation has been declared in the state.

Office of Highway Safety Director Lee Axdahl says the proclamation is another way to keep safe driving in mind and encourage drivers to be careful.

"No matter how old you are, it still comes down to being a responsible driver," Axdahl says. "That means wear a seatbelt, don't drink and drive, slow down, watch for others and don't let phone calls or text messages distract you from what should be your main focus -- being a safe driver."

Axdahl says a major focus has been educating drivers under the age of 25 to be safer drivers. He says drivers in that age category are more likely to become distracted while driving.

"Think about this: drivers under the age of 25 make up only 15 percent of all drivers, but that 15 percent is involved in almost 50 percent of the crashes involving speeding and more than 30 percent of the crashes involving alcohol," Axdahl says. "We are trying to reduce those numbers. Parents of young drivers can make a huge difference by setting good examples."

In 2016, the number of fatal vehicle crashes was the lowest since 2011 and the second lowest of all time. So far in 2017, the number of vehicle crash fatalities is down 48 percent and the number of fatal crashes is down 40 percent.

The Office of Highway Safety is part of the Department of Public Safety.

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