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June 22, 2012 04:52 PM

Troopers Educate, Warn, Cite 343 Drivers

Sioux Falls, SD

The numbers are totaled and troopers from South Dakota and Minnesota are calling Thursday's focused effort on Interstate 90 a success.  Nearly 40 troopers worked I-90 between Mitchell and Worthington on Thursday.  The focused effort of the two-state trooper teamwork resulted in 343 vehicles being pulled over.  They gave out 408 warnings.

"Sometimes it's just explaining the law.  If it's a moving violation, sometimes they don't even know that it was a violation," Lt. Alan Welsh of the South Dakota Highway Patrol said.

Education was one of the main goals of the effort.  Troopers also aimed to make the roads safer.  Of the 153 citations issued, the top violation was speeding, with 63 tickets. The top excuse, drivers say they simply aren't aware of the limit, especially when crossing the border into Minnesota.

"Any time the speed limit changes, it is posted.  Being aware of what that is, especially this close to the border, it's important that you watch those signs," Trooper Laurie Mortensen of the Minnesota State Patrol said.

Much to the delight of troopers, they found no drunk drivers during the hours of the crackdown.  However, one person was found with an open container of alcohol.  The second most common ticket given out was for seat belt violations. 

"We see a lot of cell phone usage which adds to your distracted driving and seat belt use is always an important violation that we're looking for.  We just want to make sure everyone is buckled up because seat belts truly do save lives," Mortensen said.

And while the troopers can't always put such an emphasis on one area at the same time, they hope doing so for one day will get drivers to make better choices each time they get behind the wheel.

One of the vehicles pulled over in South Dakota resulted in drug arrests that involves 295 pound of marijuana.

Troopers also helped 15 drivers that experienced break downs, one of which was a flat tire in the construction zone on the edge of Sioux Falls.

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