The Delaware Office of Highway Safety Increases Enforcement for National Distracted Driving Awareness Month
April 4, 2023
DOVER, Del. (April 4, 2023) The Delaware Office of Highway Safety is partnering with local and state law enforcement agencies across Delaware from April 1 – 30 to conduct high visibility enforcement and support several mobilization initiatives during National Distracted Driving Awareness Month such as the Delaware State Police “Drive to Save Lives” initiative that took place Saturday, April 1 through Monday, April 3, 2023. This mobilization brought together multiple law enforcement agencies from Florida to Maine to focus patrols up and down the I-95 corridor, which aimed at keeping motorists safe and reducing fatalities on our roadways.
In 2022, there were 165 traffic fatalities on Delaware roads, tying a record high year set in 1988. Distracted driving crashes are often underreported. But data shows that in Delaware, between 2018 and 2022, there were 9,860 crashes, 90 serious injuries, and 25 fatalities involving distracted driving on our roadways.
Nationally, according to NHTSA, nearly 32,483 people died in distraction-affected crashes over the ten-year period from 2011 to 2020. In 2020, there were 3,142 deaths linked to driver distraction, or 8% of all motor-vehicle crash fatalities. This is an increase of 23 fatalities compared to 2019.
According to NHTSA research from 2017, young drivers 16 to 24 years old have been observed often using their cell phones to talk, text, and scroll through social media while driving at higher rates than older drivers since 2007. In 2020, 7% of drivers 15 to 20 years old involved in fatal crashes were reported as distracted.
“Distracted driving is one of the leading contributing factors to the increasing trends in fatalities on Delaware roads today,” said Kimberly Chesser, Director, Delaware Office of Highway Safety. “People know texting and driving is dangerous and often illegal, but they do it anyway, and it puts others at risk. Beginning April 1, drivers will see increased law enforcement efforts, as officers will be stopping and ticketing anyone who is caught texting and driving.”
In addition to the increased enforcement efforts, OHS is spreading awareness to Delawareans statewide through a mix of paid advertising, social media, public relations, and grassroots efforts including partnerships with restaurants and insurance companies across the State to help provide education materials and spread the message to avoid driving distracted.
Drive Safe Every Trip
The Delaware Office of Highway Safety urge drivers to put their phones away when behind the wheel. If you need to text, pull over and do not drive while doing so. If you are the driver, follow these steps for a safe driving experience:
- If you are expecting a text message or need to send one, pull over and park your car in a safe location. Once you are safely off the road and parked, it is safe to text.
- Ask your passenger to be your “designated texter.” Allow them access to your phone to respond to calls or messages.
- Do not engage in social media scrolling or messaging while driving.
- Cell phone use is habit-forming. Struggling to not text and drive? Activate your phone’s “Do Not Disturb” feature, or put your phone in the trunk, glove box, or back seat of your vehicle until you arrive at your destination.
For more information on the campaign, statistics, and education on Distracted Driving, visit www.ArriveAliveDE.com/Be-Alert.
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.