Office of the Governor and the Delaware Blue Coats community kick off a season of safe driving awareness with proclamation, safety pledge, and ugly holiday sweaters
December 1, 2023
DOVER, Del. (Nov. 30, 2023) Delaware Governor John Carney has officially designated December as Safe Family Holiday Month in support of the annual Delaware Office of Highway Safety (OHS) Safe Family Holiday campaign. He has also participated in several activities to demonstrate his personal commitment, as well as that of his office, to increase safety for drivers, passengers, and pedestrians during the holidays. Governor Carney was joined by leadership from OHS and team officials from the Delaware Blue Coats at the Chase Fieldhouse today where he issued the official proclamation declaring December as Safe Family Holiday Month before he and team officials signed a pledge promising to “prevent the holidays from getting ugly” by traveling safely during the holidays.
The activities with the Governor launched the month-long Safe Family Holiday campaign developed and implemented by OHS with the support of dozens of community partners who dedicate their reach, resources, and influence to increase awareness of what makes the holidays one of the most dangerous times of the year on Delaware roadways. OHS and its partners also provide Delawareans with the knowledge, tools, and motivation to make responsible choices and engage in safe driving and pedestrian habits during the season.
Earlier this year, the Office of the Governor announced several State roadway safety initiatives. In June, Governor Carney signed several traffic safety related bills into law, making the 2024 Safe Family Holiday campaign a natural next step in his continued support of lowering the rates of crashes and crash-related fatalities in the state.
“It’s our responsibility to do what we can to keep Delawareans safe on the roadways, and we need all drivers to do their part,” said Governor Carney. “The most crashes on Delaware roadways have occurred between October and January. This holiday season, I’m encouraging everyone traveling in the First State to make smart decisions and commit to driving safely. I want to thank the Delaware Blue Coats for partnering with our Office of Highway Safety to promote simple steps we can take to keep our families safer on the roads.”
“The holiday season is one of the busiest travel times of the year. No matter how far you are traveling during the holiday season, we encourage everyone to drive safely. We must all do our part to prevent crashes and fatalities. The Safe Family Holiday campaign encourages Delawareans to make responsible choices. I’m grateful that OHS and our partners remain committed to ensuring our roads are safe for all Delawareans and visitors during the holidays,” said Safety and Homeland Security Secretary Nathaniel McQueen, Jr.”
“The ugly holiday sweater is a well-known seasonal item that everyone recognizes and looks for at this time of year,” said Sharon Bryson, Director, Delaware Office of Highway Safety. “Unfortunately, the same cannot always be said for safe driving and pedestrian habits. During this festive season, we need people to be aware of potential dangers – such as parties and alcohol consumption, dark and snowy roads, speeding to get to destinations, and more – which can lead to an increase in crashes. By connecting the idea of the ugly sweater with the positive message that every individual has the ability to prevent crashes, injuries, and fatalities, the Safe Family Holiday campaign aims to encourage people to stop, think, and reconsider their behaviors in order to promote traffic safety.”
“As we approach the holiday season, it’s imperative that we prioritize safety on our roadways,” said Colonel Melissa Zebley, Superintendent of the Delaware State Police. “Our roads are a shared community space, and it’s our collective responsibility to keep them safe. Don’t let the festivities cloud your judgment and endanger yourself and others. We must ensure that we always drive sober, avoid distractions, and buckle up for every trip. Additionally, we should reduce our speed to account for increased traffic and potentially hazardous weather conditions. Remember, the best gift you can give and receive during the holiday season is a commitment to responsible driving.”
Safe Family Holiday Events, Activities, and Opportunities
On Saturday, December 2, the Blue Coats organization is providing the first large-scale public opportunity for Delawareans to learn more about staying safe during the holidays and pledge their support to efforts to reduce crashes on Delaware roads. Blue Coats fans attending the game in their ugly sweater that day will be invited onto the court to take a photo. During the game, fans will be engaged by OHS teams in educational and motivational activities, which include highway safety trivia and the opportunity to sign ugly sweater pledge cards that will hang in the Chase Fieldhouse through the holidays. Before the game, Blue Coats players and coaches will also sign the pledge and encourage the fans to heed the messages of OHS’ Safe Family Holiday Campaign.
OHS is also implementing a robust communications and community engagement campaign that will run through December 31—with much of the communications riveting Delawarean’s attention through the ubiquitous and endearing concept of the ugly holiday sweater.
Along with an integrated campaign that includes traditional and social media, community pledge-signing activations, and appearances by OHS mascots Zoey Glowey and an ugly-sweater-clad Safety Snowman, OHS, Delaware State Police, and municipal law enforcement agencies are teaming up for several Safe Family Holiday enforcement periods in efforts to curb driving under the influence, speeding, and distracted driving.
Statistics and Steps to Take
In 2023, we have seen 128 fatalities on roadways and 465 serious injuries on Delaware roads. Winter holidays in the state represent one of the most dangerous times of the year for drivers and pedestrians, with the most crashes occurring between October and January.
According to OHS, driving under the influence, speeding, distracted driving, and pedestrian safety are the leading causes of holiday crashes in Delaware. Risks are elevated by snowy and icy roads as well as darkness setting in earlier. OHS reminds Delawareans to make these critical considerations before driving during the holidays:
- If you’re planning a night out that includes drinking, make sure you line up a sober ride home. Use a rideshare service, or public transportation, or call a friend or family member to get you home safely.
- With worsening road conditions, it’s extremely important to avoid distractions while driving. Put down your phone, always buckle up, and focus on the road ahead.
- You may be itching to get home for the holidays, but so is everyone else. Slow down and follow posted speed limits before things get ugly.
- If you choose to walk home from celebrations, wear bright or reflective clothing and/or items to make yourself as visible as possible. Additionally, motorists need to be aware of increased pedestrian activity as visibility may be impaired due to hazardous weather and shorter daylight hours during the winter months.
About the Delaware Office of Highway Safety
The Office of Highway Safety (OHS) is committed to improving the safety of Delaware’s motoring public by focusing on behavioral traffic safety issues, such as impaired driving, seat belt use, speeding, child passenger safety, pedestrian and bicycle safety, motorcycle safety, and teen driving issues. FAQs can be found at ArriveAliveDE.com. Follow OHS on the Delaware Office of Highway Safety website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok.