Quality of Life Benefits of Transportation,  Safety,  South Dakota

Saving Lives

South Dakota recorded the lowest number of traffic fatalities in the state’s history in 2019 after the South Dakota Department of Transportation turned to several innovative measures to help all South Dakota residents reach home safely and healthy.

SDDOT’s standout safety countermeasures included high friction surface treatment, centerline rumble strips, and shoulder rumble strips. High friction surface treatments provide better traction and help motorists maintain control on bridges and at horizontal curves. SDDOT was the first DOT in the nation to test this treatment to prevent winter-related crashes, and now other northern states are following suit. Centerline and shoulder rumble strips deter crashes caused by vehicles crossing the centerline and departing the road, respectively. Where these safety treatments have been used, safety has improved dramatically.

But SDDOT’s efforts don’t end there—especially since fatalities rose again in 2020. From deploying low-cost safety improvements like better signage to higher-cost measures like widened shoulders, SDDOT will continue to identify and apply innovations that best promote the safety of travelers and to work with other state and local agencies to encourage safe driving behavior by motorists.

  • High friction surface treatment on more than 30 horizontal curves reduced winter road condition crashes by 80 percent.
  • 300 miles of shoulder rumble strips on two-lane county and tribal roads reduced road departure crashes by 20 percent.
  • 350 miles of centerline rumble strips on two-lane rural roadways reduced fatal/ injury crashes by 62 percent and reduced cross-centerline crashes by 47 percent.

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