After releasing the 2014 crime report, the state launched a new online system for accessing accident records. SafeSD.gov allows users to purchase accident records back to 2004 for $10 a pop ($4 to find the record, $6 to compensate the state for the convenience of this service). Those charges cover delivery of an actual record; the database allows free searches for accident records by vehicle ID number or by first name, last name, county, and date of accident.
SafeSD.gov also includes yearly statistical reports on motor vehicle crashes back to 2005. The Department of Public Safety hasn’t posted a nice neat report on 2014 yet, but it does offer the raw data for our spreadsheet enjoyment. Some interesting observations on highway mayhem in 2014:
- The most dangerous hours to be on the road—i.e., the hours during which the most crashes happened—are 5 p.m. (work getting out), 3 p.m. (school getting out), and 7 a.m. (everyone headed for work and school).
- 46.8% of crashes happened outside city limits.
- 44.9% of crashes inside city limits happen within ten cities:
City Crashes (2014) Population (2013) Sioux Falls 3,970 164,676 Rapid City 1,665 70,812 Aberdeen 419 27,333 Watertown 407 21,995 Mitchell 348 15,539 Brookings 265 22,943 Spearfish 245 11,107 Yankton 192 14,591 Pierre 150 13,984 Huron 126 13,097
Notice that Brookings ranks fourth in population but only sixth in crashes, suggesting that Brookings drivers are relatively more cautious or that I-29 and U.S. 14 pose fewer hazards as the major traffic zooms through town. Meanwhile, Spearfish ranks tenth for population but seventh for crashes, suggesting crazier drivers or more dangerous roads (I’m betting roads—think curves on I-90).
- Two thirds of all crashes, rural and urban, happened in ten counties:
County Crashes (2014) Population (2014) Minnehaha 4,521 182,882 Pennington 2,425 108,242 Lincoln 828 51,548 Brown 772 38,408 Lawrence 658 24,657 Brookings 629 33,314 Codington 601 27,938 Davison 533 19,885 Meade 450 26,951 Yankton 331 22,684
- In case there’s anyone out there still snarling, “Women drivers!” under his chauvinist breath, note that in crashes in which the sex of the driver is known, 58.17% involved male drivers. The most recent data available indicate that men make up only 50.4% of all drivers. Slow down, fellas.