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SD Highway Patrol Out In Force For Holiday

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The day before Thanksgiving Day is one of the busiest days of the year for traveling.
AAA estimates 90 percent of travel to Thanksgiving destinations will be done by car. So to keep motorists safe, The South Dakota Highway Patrol has all available troopers out monitoring the roads.

Wednesday marked the eighth year The South Dakota Highway Patrol has participated in ‘Operation Safe.’ Throughout the entire state, freeways are being watched for drivers who may pose as a danger to themselves and others. And the overall goal is to hopefully reduce the number of accidents.

As South Dakotans begin to travel for Thanksgiving, chances are they may see a state trooper on their journey.  

"There are more troopers out on the road today, addressing all sorts of violations. There's always the big ones, speeding, seatbelts and removing impaired drivers off the road,” said Trooper Ben Lord, South Dakota Highway Patrol.

It’s all part of the highway patrols annual ‘Operation Safe.’ And the goal is remind motorists to make safe driving decisions, as major freeways in the state become busier than usual.

“An important aspect of Wednesday's operation is education and public awareness of safe travel,” said Trooper Lord.

And although that may be one of the goals, troopers aren’t hesitating to pull over offenders.

Trooper Lord: “The reason I stopped you was for your speed. Do you have your driver's license?”

Driver 1: “Uh sure, I wasn’t going that fast was I?”

Trooper Lord: “You were going well over 65.”

As Trooper Lord returns to his spot on I-29 looking for those breaking the law, he shares a few safety tips.    

"Give yourself more time to get where you are going, that way you aren't rushed. Go the speed limit; make sure you and all the passengers are in the vehicle are wearing seatbelts. And if you do choose to drink over the weekend, make sure you don't drive,” said Trooper Lord.

If you remember those things, not only will you be safer, Lord said you won’t see flashing lights in your review mirror.

Trooper Lord: “Hi, see the reason I stopped you was for your speed. You have your driver license on you?”

Driver 2: “Yeah.”

Trooper Lord: “Why don’t you grab your insurance and registration as well.”

Within about 30 minutes there were four tickets written between Trooper Lord and another trooper in the same area. Troopers stress writing tickets is not what they want to do. And while anyone driving over the speed limit could get pulled over, if you are going 10 mph over the limit, the fine is $105.

Wednesday is the only day ‘Operation Safe,’ will be taking place. But Troopers said they would be out enforcing safe driving over the holiday weekend.
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