It’s been 43 years since South Dakota’s deadliest Christmas on the road

Local News
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Travelers are taking to the skies and the roads for the holiday season.

While some traveling will be completed before December 24, the South Dakota Department of Public Safety said the state had 173 reported traffic crashes during a specifically designated 102-hour reporting period during the December holiday season. Of those crashes, 48 had injuries and two deaths.

This year’s reporting period starts at 6 p.m. Dec. 24 and ends at midnight on December 25.

The last holiday weekend the state was fatality free was in 2015. The deadliest Christmas holiday period was in 1976 when the DPS said 10 people died from injuries in five crashes.

AAA said an estimated 104.8 million Americans, the most on record, will drive to their holiday destinations. So, 3.9 million more people are expected to travel by vehicle compared with last year, for an increase of 3.9%.

It won’t be a smooth ride for everyone on the road. More than 853,000 motorists will call AAA for assistance at the roadside this holiday season, the organization said in a December 16 news release. The most trouble will be dead batteries, flat tires and lockouts.

Gas prices for those on the road vary in KELOLAND, according to AAA and gasbuddy.com. Prices below are for regular grade fuel.

As of December 23, the average gas price in Minnehaha County was $2.35 a gallon while the average price statewide was $2.47.8, AAA said.

The average price in Iowa was $2.34 a gallon, in Nebraska, $2.41.8, in Minnesota, $2.40.

The national average was $2.54.8

For those traveling in South Dakota, the state has 82,584 miles of public roads. The U.S. Department of Transportation said as of April, 86.4% of those roads were rated as good or in fair condition based on the International Roughness Index.

The federal Transportation Safety Administration said between December 19 and January 5, an estimated 42 million passengers will travel through security screening checkpoints nationwide, an increase of 3.9% from 2018.

The U.S. Department of Transportation said the Sioux Falls airport had 559,000 travelers from September 2018 through 2019, which are the most recent statistics available.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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