2012 another deadly year for drivers in SD - KOTA Territory News

2012 another deadly year for drivers in SD

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"Becca was 16. Tony was 20. They were just driving heading back to Rapid City from Minot. And she was texting and driving and I'm sure that's what made her get off the road," said Rapid City's Jami Martin.

Yet another sobering reminder of what happens when young drivers take focus off the road and shift it to their phones.

"People have to take the responsibility to make the right decisions when they're driving. They have to choose not to drink and drive. They have to choose to wear their safety belts. They have to choose not to talk on their cell phones or text," said Cpt. Kevin Karley of the SD Highway Patrol.

Currently there is not a state ban on texting while driving in South Dakota. .However these distracted drivers often get pulled over for other violations.

"Since they're not paying attention to their driving in a lot of cases they're committing another traffic violation, so we stop them for that violation," said Karley.

"But I don't think we realized how with the texting now how your eyes off the road. And you know it just takes a second," said Martin.

Numbers are in from 2012 and according to South Dakota state records nearly 52 percent of crashes came from speeding drivers under the age of 25. The highway patrol has taken to social media to get the word out.

"As part of our "Obey the sign, Avoid the fine" campaign we're trying to get our message out on social media. We're using our Facebook page for weekly postings. And distracted driving is one of the things that we're going to focus that message on," said Karley. 

And if social media can't get to young distracted drivers, Jami Martin's message should.

"Driving behind a vehicle with a phone is like having a loaded nine millimeter or a fifth of whiskey. You're going to cause an accident. You're going to die," said Martin.

133 South Dakotans died in fatal traffic crashes last year.

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