PIERRE, S.D. 23 December 2015 – With both the Christmas and New Year’s holidays occurring in the next week, officials of the South Dakota Department of Public Safety are encouraging people to be safe with their celebrations.Many people will travel during the next week. Col. Craig Price, superintendent of the South Dakota Highway Patrol, says drivers need to be patient and watch for others.“We know many people will be traveling not only on the holidays themselves, but also on the days before and after each holiday,” says Price. “As always, Highway Patrol troopers will be out there, helping remind motorists to be safe.”
In 2014, five people died in fatal crashes during the Christmas reporting period but none during the New Year’s period. Lee Axdahl, director of the Office of Highway Safety, says with all of the activities surrounding the holidays, people need to still practice road safety.“There are few things worse than having a holiday end in sadness after a loved one dies in a fatal crash,” Axdahl says. “Our reminders to the motorists are the same: Slow down, be mindful of changing road conditions in case of bad weather, always wear your seatbelts and put the cell phone out of reach to eliminate the temptation to text while driving.”
The need to be safe goes beyond just traveling. State Fire Marshal Paul Merriman says the holiday season brings increased fire risks to the home as well.
“With so many lights, decorations and special meals that are part of the holidays, it is important to be aware of additional fire hazards that are present in the home,” Merriman says. “Be careful with fires of any kind and make sure they are not unattended. And of course, having a working smoke alarm on each floor of your home is essential.”
All three DPS officials say despite all of the activities that come with the holidays, people still need to make sure they and their families remain safe.