Highway Safety Officials Urge Caution On Roadways

Traffic fatalities are trending upward for 2015

Dover – Highway safety officials are urging motorists, motorcyclists, and pedestrians to focus on the task of driving and/or safely crossing the road.  May, June and July have seen an above-average number of fatalities as compared to the five-year average. Statewide, there were 34 fatalities between May and July and a total of 62 persons have lost their lives in fatal crashes this year.

A variety of factors are at work in causing the crashes according to fatality reports, but what appear to be common factors are speed, impairment, and unsafe crossing by pedestrians. The months of June and July have seen an increase in speed related crashes; July has 13 crashes alone.  Of those 13 crashes, five of them were crashes where a pedestrian died.  Since January 1st of this year there have been a total of 18 pedestrian fatalities, compared to 10 at this time last year.

“An overwhelming majority of crashes are preventable. Using crosswalks, limiting your distractions and slowing down can prevent you from being involved in a crash,” said Jana Simpler, Director for the Office of Highway Safety.

Motorcycle crashes are also trending upward with 9 fatalities to date this year. There were 15 motorcycle fatalities in all of 2014.  Factors leading to motorcycle crashes include speed and loss of control.  “With many more warm riding days ahead, we urge motorcyclists to freshen up their riding skills and take one of the rider training courses offered by DMV or other partners,”  said Alison Kirk Community Relations Officer, Office of Highway Safety. “If the crash trend continues, we may end with more motorcycle fatalities than last year.”

OHS reminds all drivers to go back to the basics of driving safety:  slow down, don’t drink and drive and always buckle up.  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.

Follow OHS for regular updates on Facebook ArriveAliveDE, Twitter @DEHighwaySafe, and www.ohs.delaware.gov.