Memorial Day Weekend Is Particularly Deadly on South Dakota Roads
Memorial Day weekend means a lot of things to a lot of people.
First and foremost, since it was established in 1868, it has been a time to remember members of the military who have lost their lives while serving their nation.
The three-day weekend is also recognized by many as the unofficial beginning of summer, which means time spent in warmer weather, enjoying the company of friends and family.
Unfortunately, in South Dakota, Memorial Day weekend has proven to be particularly deadly on the state's roads.
According to a report released by car insurance savings app Jerry, data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the U.S. Census Bureau shows that between 2011 and 2020, the Mount Rushmore was home to the third-highest rate of traffic deaths in the nation, averaging a little more than two per year during the 78-hour reporting period each year (6:00 PM Friday to 6:00 AM Tuesday).
MOST MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND FATALITIES PER CAPITA (2011-2020)
- West Virginia - 3.35
- Louisiana - 2.34
- South Dakota - 2.25
- Mississippi - 2.16
- Oklahoma - 2.09
- South Carolina - 2.05
- New Mexico - 2.03
- Tennessee - 1.98
- Kentucky - 1.93
- Wyoming - 1.91
According to the 2020 South Dakota Motor Vehicle Traffic Crash Summary, the state has seen a total of 1,222 Memorial Day weekend traffic accidents between 2011 and 2020.
15 of those crashes contributed to the deaths of 22 people during that time period.
MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND VEHICLE FATALITIES IN SOUTH DAKOTA
- 2011 - 0
- 2012 - 1
- 2013 - 0
- 2014 - 6
- 2015 - 4
- 2016 - 0
- 2017 - 6
- 2018 - 1
- 2019 - 2
- 2020 - 2
Nationally, 4,100 people were killed in traffic accidents during the Memorial Day weekend over the past decade.
A little more than half (53%) of fatal crashes occurred between 6:00 PM and 3:00 AM, with nearly 40 percent involving at least one driver who had been drinking alcohol.
Nearly two-thirds (64%) of all fatal traffic crashes during the Memorial Day holiday weekend over the past 10 years involved only a single vehicle, and 56 percent involved a vehicle leaving the roadway.
Only 12 percent of fatal crashes took place on an interstate highway.
Saturday night and the early hours of Sunday morning are the deadliest hours on Memorial Day weekend.