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Delaware Cracks Down on Cell Phone Use Behind The Wheel

Date Posted: Tuesday, November 12th, 2013
Categories:  Office of Highway Safety Safety and Homeland Security

One day enforcement blitz November 15th

Dover- Delaware Office of Highway Safety (OHS) and Delaware law enforcement agencies will once again be cracking down on cell phone use behind the wheel with a statewide one day enforcement blitz on November 15th.  This enforcement is a follow up to the Phone in One Hand. Ticket in the Other. campaign that took place earlier this year.

“We will continue to enforce Delaware’s cell phone law with one day enforcement blitzes to remind motorists that not only is it illegal to use an electronic device while driving it is also distracting and very dangerous,” said Jana Simpler, Director for the Delaware Office of Highway Safety.

Distracted driving consists of any non-driving activity a person engages in that has the potential to distract him or her from the primary task of driving. The Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI) says you are three times more likely to be involved in a crash by engaging in visual-manual subtasks (such as reaching for a phone, dialing and texting) associated with the use of hand-held phones and other portable devices.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found nationwide that 11% of all drivers under the age of 20 involved in fatal crashes were reported as distracted at the time of the crash.  And for drivers 15-19 years old involved in fatal crashes, 21% of the distracted drivers were using cell phones.

Additional one day enforcement blitzes will continue next year in February and April .  Enforcement will be accompanied by paid media including a heavy saturation of radio ads.

The Phone in One Hand. Ticket in the Other. campaign that ran in November 2012 and April & June 2013, resulted in a total of 5,757 cell phone citations.   To date there have been 14,712 cell phone citations issued in 2013.

Delaware cell phone law bans texting while driving as well as bans the use of hand-held cell phones.  Drivers are required to utilize hands-free technology in order to use a cell phone while driving.   It also bans the use of pagers, blackberry’s, PDA’s, laptops, games, or the use of any other electronic device by someone while driving. If you have to make a call, pull over to a safe place to use your cell phone or use a hands free device like a blue tooth.

If a police officer observes you using a handheld device while driving they can pull you over and give you a $106 fine for your first offense.  If you get caught again penalties increase and can go up to $300.  Violations do not incur points on your driver’s license.

For more information on distracted driving, please visit www.distraction.gov/delaware or ohs.delaware.gov/cellphone.

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