South Dakota Fatal Motorcycle Accident Statistics
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 133 traffic deaths were reported in 2015. This total shows a rate of 15.49 per 100,000 population, which is above the national average of 10.92. Motorcycle fatalities make up 23 percent of this number with 31 deaths for the year. This number is down slightly from 2013, which recorded 38 deaths and 2012 with 39.
The helmet law for South Dakota requires anyone age 17 and younger to wear a helmet, but it has no requirements for those above this age limit. As a result, only 29 percent of people in a fatal motorcycle accident wore a helmet in the crash. This number is down slightly from the previous two years. Estimates show that helmet usage saved five lives, and another eight could have been saved in 2015 with 100 percent usage.
The age range with the highest number of motorcycle fatalities was 50-59 with 11 deaths in 2015. In second place was those over the age of 59 with nine. One person was killed under the age of 20 and another person was between the ages of 20 and 29. Two deaths were in the 30-39 age group.
The majority of counties in South Dakota reported zero motorcycle-related fatalities for 2015. Eleven counties reported at least one death but fewer than six for the year. Two counties reported more than five, and they were in the western portion of the state. Pennington County reported seven for the year, which is up from five in 2014. Meade County came in second with six, which was a significant increase from one the prior year. Surrounding counties also noted fatalities, including Jackson with one, Lawrence with four and Custer with two. On the eastern side of the state, Lincoln County had three, Union had one and Minnehaha reported two.