31 fatalities from not wearing a seat belt so far this year, highway patrol reminding drivers of importance

Sgt. Barrick said wearing a seat belt can increase the chance of surviving an accident by 45%.

BLACK HILLS, S.D. (KEVN) The South Dakota Highway Patrol wants to remind people to slow down on icy roads and roads with snow.

According to the highway patrol, there is a 34% difference in fatalities with and without a seat belt so far in 2019.

Sgt.t Shan Barrick with the South Dakota Highway Patrol said wearing a seat belt can increase the chance of surviving a crash by 45%.

He also said wearing a seat belt properly is a priority, and that seat belts should be worn cross the chest and shoulder, not tucked behind.

"The last three months in a year is a real high point when it comes to fatalities crashes so those fatality numbers are still for the most part probably going to rise, and unfortunately even one fatality crash is too much.. so to show that we have a lower amount than last year its still higher than it should be because a lot of fatality crashes are preventable and a simple choice of wearing a seat belt can prevent quite a few of them," said Barrick.

In 2018, there were 62 fatalities in South Dakota where victims didn't wear seat belts.

So far in 2019, there have been 31 fatalities.