2021 U.S. Road Fatalities Projected Highest in 16 Years, Delaware at 15-year High

An estimated 43,000 people were killed on U.S. roads last year, the highest number in 16 years according to data released this week by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The 10.5% jump over 2020 numbers was the largest percentage increase since NHTSA began its fatality accounting in 1975.

The 139 fatalities on Delaware roads were the highest number since 2006, and included 30 pedestrians, 24 motorcyclists, and two bicyclists.
This year is seeing a continued escalation with 56 fatalities already occurring year to date in 2022, a 62% increase over the same time period last year. Should this trend continue, it will be the most fatalities on Delaware roads since 2004.

“Sadly, this national data is not surprising given what we are seeing happen on Delaware roads,” said Secretary of Transportation Nicole Majeski. “DelDOT is investing hundreds of millions of dollars in projects each year to make our roads safer, but there’s only so much we can from an engineering standpoint. We need everyone to do their part when it comes to safety.”

“Every person should reach their destinations and then return home safely each day,” said Governor John Carney. “The busy summer season is almost upon us and there will be even more people on the roads – driving, walking, biking – let’s all work to keep safety in mind to prevent more tragedies.”

DelDOT and its partners in highway safety are constantly working to combat traffic fatalities and serious injuries on Delaware roadways through multiple efforts, such as the 2021-2025 Delaware Strategic Highway Safety Plan, as one death on our roads is too many. This Plan, developed through multi-agency coordination, has nine emphasis areas and provides a framework to reduce fatalities and serious injuries resulting from crashes on Delaware’s roadways.

Create a Safer Ride During Motorcycle Awareness Month

Governor John Carney has proclaimed May as Motorcycle Awareness Month and the Delaware Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV), in support of the Delaware Office of Highway Safety’s (OHS) Motorcycle Safety campaign, urges both motorists and motorcyclists to create a safer ride through education and awareness.

Motorcyclists of all skill levels, both novice and advanced can enroll in a DMV Motorcycle Safety Course. Beginner course benefits include professional training, 10% off your motorcycle liability insurance, exemption from taking the DMV road test and graduates automatically get a license to ride. Advanced course benefits include professional training and 15% off your motorcycle liability insurance.

Secretary of Transportation Nicole Majeski commented, “We continue to stress the need for increased safety awareness on our roads for all modes of transportation. With the arrival of warm weather, more motorcycles will be on the roads and over half of all fatal motorcycle crashes involve another vehicle. Regardless of how you choose to travel, safety should be everyone’s top priority.”

“Whether it’s your first time on a motorcycle or you’ve been riding for years, please enroll in one of our courses,” urged Director of the Delaware DMV Jana Simpler. “The combination of classroom and road training will not only make you a better driver but will also help reduce the likelihood of a mishap.”
For a list of available courses or enrollment details CLICK HERE, visit dmv.de.gov and search on motorcycle courses, e-mail motorcyclecourse@delaware.gov or contact the below for more information:

Beginner Rider Program
New Castle County – 302-832-5163
Kent County – 302-744-2658
Sussex County – 302-853-1030

Experienced Rider Program
New Castle – 302-862-5163
Kent – 302-744-2658
Sussex – 302-853-1030

In 2021, 24 motorcyclists were killed on a Delaware roadway. This year 3 motorcyclists have died. Even if you are not a motorcyclist, always look twice at intersections, don’t tailgate motorcycles, and eliminate distractions while driving. For more motorcycle safety tips visit https://www.youtube.com/user/delawaredmv. For information on all programs offered by the DMV CLICK HERE or visit DMV.de.gov and click on Driver Services.

DelDOT Reminds Motorists to Slow Down & Pay Attention During National Work Zone Awareness Week

From left to right: Jana Tidwell from AAA Mid-Atlantic, Delaware State Police Sergeant Heather Pepper, Lieutenant Governor Bethany Hall-Long, Daria Benson and family (DelDOT), Tom Neubauer (Kiewit), Jason Sacco (DelDOT), Sarah Powell and family (DelDOT), Secretary of Transportation Nicole Majeski at NWZAW event in Wilmington

The Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT) encourages everyone to take part in National Work Zone Awareness Week (NWZAW), April 11, 2022, through April 15, 2022, and to wear orange on Go Orange Day, April 13 as a reminder to use always caution and drive carefully in and around work zones.

On Monday, Secretary of Transportation Nicole Majeski, Lieutenant Governor Bethany Hall-Long, representatives from AAA Mid-Atlantic, the Delaware State Police, and Kiewit gathered in Wilmington adjacent to the I-95 Restore the Corridor work zone to remind motorists the importance of slowing down and paying attention when traveling through work zones. The theme of this year’s campaign: Drive Like Your Family Works Here. If we all work together, we can achieve zero deaths on our roads and in our work zones.

“Keeping our work zones safe is a collective effort,” said Lieutenant Governor Bethany Hall-Long. “Together by minimizing distractions, reducing our speed, and obeying posted signs while driving through work zones we can save lives. Keeping our roads, highways, and bridges safe should be all our DelDOT crews are focused on. They should not have to worry about whether or not they’ll make it home for dinner.”

“On any given day, we have hundreds of DelDOT employees and contractors working on our roadways making improvements to keep you safe. We also have our toll collectors working in the middle of our busiest roadways serving our customers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week,” said Secretary of Transportation Nicole Majeski. “This year’s theme is Drive Like Your Family Works Here. So please when you see a construction sign, our employees working along the roadway or going through our toll booths, slow down and Drive Like Your Family Works Here because we don’t ever want to lose a member of our DelDOT Family.”

April 13, 2022 starting at 10:00 am, Secretary of Transportation Nicole Majeski and representatives from the Delaware Office of Highway Safety and Mumford & Miller Construction will gather for another NWZAW event at American Legion #28 at 31768 Legion Road in Millsboro, Delaware.

Honor the families who have lost loved ones in work zone crashes on Go Orange Day Wednesday, April 13, 2022, and when passing through the Newark, Biddles, and Dover Toll Plazas or driving over the Indian River Inlet Bridge (Charles Cullen Bridge) remember the lights shine orange during April as a reminder of the role we all play in work zone safety.

NWZAW is held in April each year at the traditional start of the construction season when the number of works on our nation’s roadways increases. NWZAW began in 1999 when the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the American Traffic Safety Services Association (ATSSA), and the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) signed a Memorandum of Agreement pledging to increase public awareness of work zone safety issues through a national media campaign. Since then, awareness has continued to grow, with state agencies and other organizations sponsoring high-visibility education and outreach initiatives.

Discover other actions DelDOT is taking to eliminate fatalities and serious injuries on Delaware’s roadways with the Delaware Strategic Highway Safety Plan. Click here to access this multi-agency approach that utilizes education, enforcement, engineering, and emergency medical service strategies, or visit DelDOT.gov.

Drinking and Driving Don’t Mix

Media Contact:
Arshon Howard
Chief of Community Relations
(302) 744-2675

OHS increases DUI enforcement

November 21 – December 26, 2021


[DOVER, Del.] November 18, 2021 — The holiday season is upon us, and this year, the Delaware Office of Highway Safety (OHS) wants you to give others the gift of holiday safety by pledging not to drink and drive.

During the 2020 winter holiday season, there were 2,646 crashes and 9 deaths on Delaware roads. One-third of those deaths (3) and about 5% (128) of the crashes were DUI-related.

The problem isn’t Delaware’s alone. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), drunk driving is a problem on our nation’s roads every day, but it’s more prevalent during the holidays. Nationally, during the Christmas and New Year’s Day holiday periods in 2019, there were more drunk-driving-related fatalities (210) than during any other holiday period that year.

Oh what fun it is to ride safely

But we’ve asked, and you’ve listened. Here in Delaware, we’ve seen our numbers trending down.

  • In 2019, there were 3,083 holiday season crashes and 12 fatalities. 129 of those crashes and 4 of those fatalities were DUI-related.
  • In 2018, there were 3,612 holiday season crashes and 15 fatalities. 137 of those crashes and 6 of those fatalities were DUI-related.

While these figures represent a decrease in the first state’s DUI-related crashes and fatalities over the winter holiday season, there’s still more we can do to protect ourselves and others.

“The holidays are known for being merry and bright, but they’re also known for being one of the deadliest seasons when it comes to drunk driving. Every holiday season, lives are lost due to impaired drivers,” says Kimberly Chesser, Director, Delaware Office of Highway Safety.

“These tragedies are preventable. That’s why we’re asking all Delawareans to commit to keeping the roads free of drunk drivers, so that everyone can have a safe holiday. One way to do that is by celebrating this holiday season with a plan that includes a sober driver.”

Have a Plan Whether You’re Driving, Riding or Hosting:

  • Before drinking, plan a safe and sober ride home, such as a designated driver, ordering a ride through your phone, or by calling a cab.
  • Don’t let someone get behind the wheel if they’ve been drinking.
  • If you’re hosting a gathering, make sure all your guests have a sober ride home.
  • If you see an impaired driver, call 911. And always wear your seat belt — it’s your best defense against impaired drivers.

What we’re doing

MADD: Tie One On For Safety

Law enforcement officers across the state are partnering with OHS to remind drivers it is never okay to drink and drive. From Friday, December 10th

through Sunday, December 26th, Delaware drivers will see more officers on the roads as part of an active DUI-enforcement campaign. The increased enforcement aims to motivate drivers to not drive under the influence of alcohol, as well as remind them of the consequences and dangers of drunk driving.To reinforce the message that drinking and driving doesn’t mix, the Office of Highway Safety is also partnering with MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving).

This years marks the 35th year of MADD’s ‘Tie One On For Safety’ campaign, which asks people to tie a red ribbon on their car antennas as a visible reminder to designate a sober, non-drinking driver.

To support our shared mission of preventing drunk driving deaths, OHS will be handing out 1,000 red ribbons at Milton’s Winter WonderFEST.

Other Holiday Hazards

Drunk driving is not the only concern during the holiday season. That’s why OHS is conducting its annual Safe Family Holiday campaign that runs between Christmas and New Year’s, and highlights traffic safety dangers that are more prevalent during the holiday season.

Now that it’s getting darker earlier, it’s even harder for drivers to see pedestrians. To make sure everyone arrives alive, the Office of Highway Safety (OHS) encourages all pedestrians to carry a flashlight or wear reflective/light-colored clothing. OHS also asks drivers to slow down and to be on the lookout for pedestrians – especially in neighborhoods.

The cold, winter weather also poses challenges for drivers. Rain, sleet, and ice can impact a driver’s steering and stopping abilities – making a driver’s reaction time even more critical. To help reduce dangerous distractions in the car and keep drivers’ eyes on the road, drivers should already have their directions set and routed before they even leave the driveway. Winter storms can also come on suddenly, so drivers should check the latest weather warnings and traffic and road conditions before they head out.

To remind drivers of the extra road risks during the holidays, OHS is conducting several additional enforcement campaigns:

  • Law enforcement officers across the state will place a special emphasis on enforcing pedestrian safety laws from November 27th through December 19th.
  • There will also be exta enforcement around occupant protection and distracted driving starting November 21st and running through December 19th.

DE OHS logoAbout 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. Follow OHS on ArriveAliveDE.comFacebookTwitterInstagram, and Snapchat.

Play it safe this Halloween: If you feel different, you drive different

Media Contact:Veronica Marshall
Public Information Officer,
Traffic Safety Outreach Coordinator


Plan to Arrive Alive this Halloween

OHS increases DUI patrols October 29 – 31, 2021


[DOVER, Del.] October 27, 2021 — Spooky season is here. And while some people of all ages celebrate a good scare – the Halloween holiday can present a real danger.

Will just one more drink be one too many?In Delaware:

  • In 2020, there were 16 DUI-related crashes and 3 people were injured over the Halloween weekend.
  • In 2019, there were 14 DUI-related crashes over the Halloween holiday weekend, resulting in 2 injuries.
  • In 2018, there were 13 DUI-related crashes and 5 injuries.
  • 31% of all deadly crashes involve alcohol.


  • In 2019, 21 vehicle occupants and four pedestrians were killed in drunk driving crashes on Halloween night.
  • Adults between the ages of 21 and 34 had the highest percentage (62%) of fatalities in drunk-driving crashes on Halloween night in 2019.
  • From 2015 to 2019, 126 people were killed in drunk driving crashes on Halloween night.
  • According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), from 2015 to 2019, 41% of all people killed in motor vehicle crashes on Halloween night were in crashes involving a drunk driver.

What we’re doing

The Office of Highway Safety encourages everyone to start the party right – with a plan.

“We want our community to have a fun night out on Halloween, but to also stay safe and make responsible choices. You should never put yourself, or others, at risk because you made the choice to drink and drive. Plan your safe ride home before you start the party,” says Kimberly Chesser, Director, Delaware Office of Highway Safety. “Drivers should also keep an eye out for pedestrians — whether they be children trick-or-treating or adults who have had too much to drink. Walking while intoxicated can also be deadly.”

To help people stay safe this Halloween weekend, the Delaware Office of Highway Safety (OHS) is also teaming up with nearly 30 law enforcement agencies statewide to help remind drivers of the dangers of drunk driving. The extra DUI enforcement begins Friday, October 29th and runs through Sunday, October 31st.

Celebrate with a plan

It is never okay to drink and drive – so if you plan to drink, plan ahead for a sober driver to take you home. Even if you’ve had only one alcoholic beverage, designate a sober driver or plan to use public transportation or a ride service to get home safely.

If you’re hosting a party where alcohol will be served, make sure all guests leave with a sober driver. And if it’s your turn to be the designated driver – take that role seriously and do not consume alcohol.

If you see an impaired driver on the road – contact local law enforcement. Your actions could help save someone’s life.

DE OHS logoAbout 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. Follow OHS on ArriveAliveDE.comFacebookTwitterInstagram, and Snapchat.