A wide range of common factors contributes to traffic safety in all states. The treatments used to reduce crash and fatality rates can often vary greatly by each state, however. Prevailing attitudes related to traffic safety in South Dakota have recently drawn specific interest, particularly when crash and fatality statistics are compared to other states. Recent traffic safety concerns have led to several questions about how similar states are attempting to lower crashes when compared to South Dakotas efforts, including:
Would stronger educational programs promoting traffic safety and awareness help lower crash rates?
Are safety programs effectively promoted and instilled around the state?
Do prevailing laws governing speed limits, driving ages, alcohol use, seatbelt use, other vehicle safety features, etc, appropriately promote traffic safety?
Are law enforcement personnel and resources at sufficient levels for the traffic safety needs of the general public?
Do crash rates among demographic groups vary enough to suggest reallocation of traffic safety resources to groups exhibiting higher risk levels?
Does the geography of the state contribute to higher crash fatality rates (e.g., long distances between medical facilities)?
Do the composition of drivers manuals and drivers tests promote safe driving habits among the public?
Do certain roadway conditions in the state contribute to higher crash rates?
Do roads under local government jurisdiction have a different set of matters concerning traffic safety?
South Dakota needs to formulate actions that could potentially reduce crash and fatality rates within the state. These actions should be based upon a careful review of the crash and fatality rates in South Dakota over the past several years, followed by a thorough investigation of primary contributory factors. The entire process would require comparison with other states to determine where South Dakota stands relative to promoting a safe driving environment. Once the factors that contribute to higher crash rates are identified, the state will have the means to better allocate resources to promote better traffic safety.