PIERRE, S.D. – South Dakota’s Highway Patrol is joining more than 40 other states and the U.S. Department of Transportation in an aggressive “Drive to Save Lives’’ campaign aimed at reducing highway fatalities across the nation in 2014.
Participating agencies will use state-specific data to tailor safety programs to the needs and problems in their own states, focusing on use of seatbelts and problems with speeding, and impaired or distracted driving.
“Too many times, our troopers, officers or deputies are the ones who must notify family members that a loved one will not be coming home,’’ said Col. Craig Price, superintendent of the South Dakota Highway Patrol. “The Drive to Save Lives campaign is an opportunity to use partnerships with other states, as well as with local law enforcement agencies, to identify and implement effective, ongoing strategies to reduce fatalities on our highways.’’
Price participated today (Thursday) in a news conference announcing the campaign at the annual meeting of the International Association of Chiefs of Police.
While the campaign theme is being shared by all participating state police and patrols across the nation, each state decides what strategies will work best for the safety of its citizens.
“We are still reviewing our data to finalize our campaign,’’ Price said. “We will use the data to identify causes, locations, times of day or days of week and other contributing factors to our fatal crashes. With that information, we can launch a campaign that targets our major problems.’’
Drive to Save Lives kicks off in 2014, but it is viewed by participants as an ongoing campaign that can be revised within each state to respond to changing needs or conditions. The campaign also will include a major component for officer safety. Traffic-related incidents are the leading cause of line-of-duty deaths for law enforcement officers nationally.