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Delaware Continues to Crack Down on Cell Phone Use Behind The Wheel

Date Posted: Tuesday, February 11th, 2014
Categories:  Office of Highway Safety Safety and Homeland Security

UPDATE-

Due to forecasted inclement weather, the distracted driving enforcement scheduled on 2/14/14, HAS BEEN RESCHEDULEDThe enforcement has been rescheduled to Tuesday, February 18th.

One day enforcement blitz February 14th

Dover Delaware Office of Highway Safety (OHS) and Delaware law enforcement agencies are asking motorists to show how much they care about their loved ones this Valentine’s Day by putting the phone down while driving.  Law enforcement will be ticketing those who don’t put the phone down during a statewide one day enforcement blitz on February 14th.  An additional one day enforcement blitz will occur April 11th.

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. A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine followed 109 experienced adult drivers and 42 novice teen drivers in Virginia and Washington D.C. for 27 months. Both novice and experienced drivers spent 10% of the time distracted by another activity while behind the wheel which resulted in 685 crashes and near crashes.

In 2013, Delaware saw 149 cell phone related crashes, which is 8 more than in 2012.

Delaware cell phone law bans texting while driving.  Drivers are also required to utilize hands-free technology in order to use a cell phone to talk 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.

Delaware’s cell phone law is a primary offense. If a police officer observes you using a handheld device while driving they can pull you over for the violation and cite you with a $50 fine for your first offense ($106 with fees).  If you get caught again penalties increase and can go up to $300.  Violations do not incur points on your driver’s license. Since the law went into effect in 2011 there have been over 35,000 cell phone citations issued statewide.

Get the facts:

  • 20-24 yr olds lead in cell phone related crashes, with 25-29 yr olds second, and 19 yrs and under a very close 3rd. Of those crashes, 55% are caused by a person under the age of 30.
  • Males account for 55% of crashes and females 45%.
  • 62% of cell phone related crashes have occurred in New Castle County. 22% have occurred in Sussex County, and 16% have occurred in Kent County.
  • Friday trends much higher than other days for cell phone related crashes.
  • Cell phone crashes normally increase in rate around lunch time and between 1:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m. when bars close.

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