South Dakota is getting ready for a busier than usual Fourth of July, thanks to a presidential visit and national monument fireworks show. President Donald Trump plans to kick off Independence Day festivities with a showy display at Mount Rushmore on July 3. This will be the first fireworks display at the site since 2009. Even though we’re a few days away from the event, the South Dakota Highway Patrol is already bracing for a busy week.
Even a typical Fourth of July week creates a parade of cars driving to the Black Hills.
“The celebrations definitely bring a lot of people to the roadways,” Lt. Robert Mayer, South Dakota Highway Patrol, said.
Mayer says with 7,500 people signed up to go to President Trump’s visit and the fireworks show, there’s going to be even more traffic.
“Along with numerous agencies in the state, the Highway Patrol will be assisting with the presidential visit,” Mayer said.
It’s important for drivers to prepare for a crowded commute to the Black Hills.
“Tragedies happen at all times. Unfortunately, during holiday weekends, we do see more crashes typically and unfortunately we do have increased injuries and sometimes fatalities because of that,” Mayer said.
Mayer says the same rules apply. Wear your seatbelts, don’t speed, stay off your phone, and don’t drink and drive.
“More crashes happen because of alcohol consumption, and then on top of that, a lot of times when people are consuming alcohol and driving they’re making poor decisions,” Mayer said.
Even though the president is visiting this weekend, Mayer says that doesn’t change the foundation of what Highway Patrol Troopers will do.
“Our goal every day is to not have any major catastrophes. Our people are out there working hard every single day,” Mayer said.