SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO)– As the weather is getting nicer, it is important to practice safe driving.
The South Dakota Highway Patrol has seen an increase of people speeding this year, said Major Jason Husby, Highway Patrol, at speeds over 100 miles per hour.
Husby said their speeding incidents over 100 were fairly consistent through 2019, but in 2020 they saw a pretty significant increase.
“As far as 2021 goes, I don’t think we are on track as where we were in 2020, but it is a little bit higher than those previous years, say 2016 through 2019,” Husby said.
So far in 2021, they had reported 189 speed contacts going at least 100 mph. In 2020, they saw a total of 464 speed contacts going at least 100 mph.
They heard from other states that during the pandemic they were also experiencing an increase of drivers speeding, Husby said.
Husby didn’t have the exact areas where they see speeding contacts the most, but based on what he sees, these incidents happen more in the rural areas.
“It seems to be when people are getting away from more of the metropolitan high-traffic areas is where we are seeing them increase their speeds,” Husby said.
Husby does not attribute these speeding increases to the interstate speed increase to 80 mph in July of 2017.
“We have pretty good compliance with the 80 mph speed limit,” Husby said.
Husby said that 2017 was one of their lowest years for speeding at these speeds.
“I don’t know that the 80 mph speed limit increased overall speeds,” Husby said.
If you do witness someone speeding, Husby said the first thing to do is to stay out of their way and let them pass you. Do not get in any type of confrontation with them.
As you increase your speeds, the chances for a crash increases as well, Husby said, especially with that kind of driving.
Our roadways aren’t designed for those kinds of speeds, he said.
The other thing drivers can do is if they see someone driving at high speeds, or witness other reckless driving behaviors, they can call 9-1-1.
The South Dakota Highway Patrol will be participating in two major safety projects during the Memorial Day holiday weekend.
“The main reason is to be visible,” Husby said. “We want to remind people to drive safe on those interstates; we want you to have a fun weekend, but we expect a lot of travelers.”
One of these programs in Operation Safe, where more troopers will be monitoring traffic and enforcing state laws on state roads. The other is the Border to Border campaign, which involves highway patrols from surrounding states.