24 deaths on SD highways are reported, 12 of the crash victims w - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

24 deaths on SD highways are reported, 12 of the crash victims weren't wearing seatbelts

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PIERRE, S.D. (KTIV) – Twenty-four people have died in crashes on South Dakota highways during the first two months of 2014 highway officials said.

Lee Axdahl, director of the South Dakota Office of Highway Safety said half of the victims were not wearing seatbelts.

"The unnecessary death of a family member or friend is heart-breaking,'' Axdahl said. "It is difficult to accept the fact that some people still get behind the wheel and don't take the simple precaution of buckling up.''

Axdahl said alcohol and speeding or overdriving road conditions in bad weather also contributed to several of the recent crashes.

"The alarming number of fatalities on the roads already this year tells me we must continue to send strong messages that everyone on the road needs to make smart choices for the safety of all of us,'' he said. "That means not drinking and driving, obeying speed limits, always wearing seatbelts and treating the task of driving a vehicle as the most important job you have.''

With the frequent snowfalls, motorists should adjust their driving to the current weather and road condition, Axdahl said.

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