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Highway Safety Officials Stress Traffic Enforcement

Date Posted: Thursday, July 10th, 2014
Categories:  Kent County New Castle County News Office of Highway Safety Safety and Homeland Security Sussex County

Dover – The Office of Highway Safety (OHS) is stressing the importance of traffic safety after a deadly first week in July and reminding motorists law enforcement officers are out enforcing these laws to help protect the public and save lives.  Several enforcement campaigns are in effect to address speeding, impaired driving, motorcycle safety, pedestrian safety and seat belt use; most of which were a factor in the crashes last week.  Between July 1 and July 6, there were 347 crashes across the state that resulted in 4 fatalities and 113 injuries. Those killed included 1 motorcyclist and 3 other drivers.

Speed and motorcycle enforcement continues until July 12th; seat belt enforcement is scheduled from July 18-31; the pedestrian safety campaign is scheduled from July 10-25 and impaired driving enforcement continues with Checkpoint Strikeforce each week through the end of the year.

A sobriety checkpoint is scheduled for Friday July 11 in Bear.  Last week a total of 86 drivers were arrested for driving under the influence in Delaware.  To date over 2,000 DUI arrests have been made since January 1st 2014.

Motorcycle safety continues to be a major concern for safety official, as there have been 13 motorcycle fatalities this year compared to 8 at this time last year.  Helmet use among motorcyclists has declined.  Of those killed this year only 23% were wearing a helmet compared to 75% last year.  Although Delaware law does not require a rider to wear a helmet, it does require a helmet to be on the motorcycle.  According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2012 in the U.S., 1,699 lives were saved by motorcycle helmet use.

Delaware also continues the pedestrian safety campaign in Sussex and New Castle counties, urging pedestrians to use crosswalks, sidewalks, and to be visible to motorists in low light or dark conditions.  Officers will be patrolling high pedestrian crash locations and stopping pedestrians who are not walking or crossing safely. Officers will provide the pedestrians with an educational flyer with safe walking tips included.  They will also answer any questions about the pedestrian safety law. There have been 150 pedestrian-involved crashes this year, resulting in 129 pedestrians injured and 9 pedestrians killed.  The majority of these involved pedestrian error, such as stepping into the path of a vehicle or not crossing in a crosswalk or marked intersection.

Speed has also been a factor in many of the crashes this year.  When speeding is coupled with impaired driving, distracted driving, disregarding traffic signals, or other traffic offenses, crashes are more likely to end in fatalities.  The OHS speed campaign is implementing new education and outreach tactics to get motorists to Slow Down and Arrive Alive.  These including working with businesses across the state to place large life-sized signs in high profile locations, posting reminders on social media, and making answers to frequently asked questions available through social media as well.

“Law enforcement officers are writing tickets to save lives,” said Alison Kirk, Community Relations Officer for OHS.  “If you receive a ticket we hope you will pause for a moment the next time you get in your vehicle, remember why you received the ticket and change the behavior that led to the ticket. Yes it may hurt your pocket to pay a fine, but it hurts a lot less than being in the hospital.”

Recently an Elsmere police officer pulled over an 18 year old male for not wearing his seat belt and gave him a ticket.  That same 18 year old, who just graduated from high school, was involved in a serious crash a few days later.  This time he was wearing his seat belt.  His mother, speaking with the investigating officer at the hospital, was aware of her son’s recent seat belt ticket and felt certain that ticket saved his life by making him buckle up.

OHS reminds all drivers to go back to the basics of driving safety:  slow down, don’t drink and drive and always buckle up.  Avoid using illicit, prescription, or over-the-counter drugs before driving.  Plan extra time to get to any destination so you don’t let traffic frustration cause you to make a bad decision behind the wheel.

For updates follow OHS on Twitter @DEHighwaySafe, and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ArriveAliveDE. Campaign specific information can be found at www.DUIrealtime.com, www.BuckleUpDE.org, www.MotorcycleSafetyDE.org.  NHTSA motorcycle information can be found at www.NHTSA.gov/Safety/Motorcycles.

 

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