‘Share the Road’ Campaign Aims to Increase Motorcycle Safety Awareness for All Road Users

Dover –The Delaware Office of Highway Safety (OHS), along with state and local law enforcement are reminding motorists to Share The Road, and reminding motorcyclists to Respect Your Ride. From May 22nd to June 6th, law enforcement across the state will be patrolling high crash roadways ensuring that both motorists and motorcyclists are sharing the road and ensuring that motorcyclists are complying with the state’s motorcycle safety laws.

The Share The Road campaign is aimed at motorists to be extra alert and to keep an eye out for motorcyclists on Delaware roadways.   Motorists are reminded to allow for more following distance between you and the motorcyclists and allow a motorcyclist the full lane width, do not try to share the lane. Although it may seem that there is enough room in the traffic lane for a motor vehicle and a motorcycle, the motorcycle needs the room to maneuver safely.

The Respect Your Ride campaign, aimed at motorcyclists, directs riders to www.MotorcyclesafetyDE.org, where they can find information about the proper tools and training to make them the safest rider they can be, as well as popular riding routes in Delaware and links on how to apply for a motorcycle license. OHS also posted a series of interviews with riders about their riding experience, training, and tips for other riders to promote safe riding and to also give insight to motorists about what it is like to ride in Delaware.

Over the last five years, motorcycle fatalities averaged 12 percent of all total fatalities in Delaware. Delaware has seen 4 motorcycle fatalities this year compared to 7 at this time last year. Saturday trends as the day when most fatalities and injuries occur on a motorcycle. Alcohol use among riders is also a contributing factor to crashes and fatalities. Thirty-six percent of motorcycle riders who were killed in the last five years were impaired.

“Wearing a helmet is an important way for a motorcyclist to stay safe, but we all play a part. It’s up to all motorists and motorcyclists to make our roads safer,” said Jana Simpler, Director for the Office of Highway Safety. “All road users need to share the responsibility of keeping the roadways safe. By following road signs, obeying speed limits, and always staying focused on the road, deaths will be prevented.”

Tips for drivers to prevent a crash with a motorcycle:

  • Though a motorcycle is a small vehicle, its operator still has all the rights of the road as any other motorist. Allow the motorcycle the full width of a lane at all times.
  • Always signal when changing lanes or merging with traffic.
  • If you see a motorcycle with a signal on, be careful. Motorcycle signals are often non-canceling and could have been forgotten. Always ensure that the motorcycle is turning before proceeding.
  • Check all mirrors and blind spots for motorcycles before changing lanes or merging with traffic, especially at intersections.
  • Always allow more following distance – three to four seconds – when behind a motorcycle. This gives them more time to maneuver or stop in an emergency.
  • Never drive distracted or impaired.

Motorcyclists must also take precautions to remain safe on the road. Increase your safety by following these steps:

  • Wear a DOT-compliant helmet and other protective gear.
  • Obey all traffic laws and be properly licensed.
  • Use hand and turn signals at every lane change or turn.
  • Wear brightly colored clothes and reflective tape to increase visibility.
  • Ride in the middle of the lane where you will be more visible to drivers.
  • Never ride distracted or impaired.

“By following basic safety rules, we can all help prevent crashes,” said Simpler. “Our message is for all drivers and riders: Share the responsibility of keeping our roads safe—always share the road.”

Law enforcement agencies participating in the May 22nd to June 6th mobilization include Blades PD, Camden PD, Clayton PD, Dewey Beach PD, Dover PD, Laurel PD, Milford PD, Millsboro PD, New Castle City PD, New Castle County PD, Newark PD, Newport PD, Rehoboth Beach PD, Seaford PD, Smyrna PD, and DSP.

For more information on any of the OHS campaigns visit www.ohs.delaware.gov and follow regular campaign updates on Twitter at www.twitter.com/DEHighwaySafe and Facebook www.facebook.com/ArriveAliveDE.


2014 Delaware Traffic Fatality End of Year Wrap Up

Dover – As we welcome a new year and hopefully a safer year, Delaware Highway Safety officials are reporting preliminary end of year total traffic fatalities. In 2014, Delaware saw a twenty percent (20%) increase in traffic fatalities compared to 2013. Delaware experienced 101 fatalities in 2013 compared to 125 in 2014.   Within the past twelve years, the highest number of traffic fatalities that occurred in a single year in Delaware was in 2003 with 148 total traffic fatalities followed by 2006 with 147.   The lowest year was 2013 with 101 traffic fatalities.

“With nearly half (46%) of our highway fatalities resultin g from impaired driving and another 43% of those fatalities stemming from a failure to wear a seatbelt, the tragedy is that these deaths were preventable. The increase in highway fatalities over the past year is quite concerning as our motorists need to understand the consequences of their action,” said Lewis D. Schiliro, Secretary of Safety and Homeland Security.

Impairment by alcohol and other drugs continues to be a major factor in overall traffic crashes and fatalities. Alcohol and drug related fatalities made up forty-seven percent (47%) of the total motor vehicle crash fatalities, This is a slight increase from 2013. The major increases in fatalities involved motor vehicle occupants involved in traffic crashes as compared to other highway users, including pedestrians and motorcyclists.   In addition, tragically there were twelve crashes in which more than one person was killed. Contributing factors to the multiple fatality crashes included speed and/or impaired driving.

New Year’s Eve signaled the end of the 2014 Checkpoint Strikeforce and Safe Family Holiday campaigns. With the 12 DUI arrests from New Year’s Eve, that brings the total number of people arrested for DUI in Delaware to 4,086 in 2014, down from 2013 in which 4,249 persons were arrests for DUI statewide.

“The Office of Highway Safety remains committed to implementing sound initiatives designed to encourage safer driving on Delaware roads,” said Jana Simpler, director of the Office of Highway Safety. “We will continue to work with our safety partners to develop campaigns to protect all motorists on our roads.”

Seat belt use has increased slightly across Delaware last year. Delaware’s seat belt use rate is currently ninety-two percent (92%) compared to the national seat belt use rate of eighty-seven percent (87%). Motorcycle fatalities decreased twenty-five percent (25%) from 2013 to 2014. In 2013, twenty motorcyclists lost their lives on Delaware roads and in 2014, that number was fifteen. Pedestrian and bicycle fatalities both saw a slight increase from 2013. There were three bicycle fatalities in 2014 compared to two in 2013. Pedestrian fatalities continue to be a traffic issue with seven occurring in December 2014 alone. There were twenty-seven pedestrian fatalities last year compared to twenty-six the year before. Delaware has previously focused on aggressive driving crashes as a whole but has now turned the focus to speed, the predominate aggressive driving crash factor. Speed has contributed to 44 of the 112 fatal crashes in 2014.

“We will continue our statewide education and outreach efforts in 2015 to make pedestrians aware of safe walking and crossing practices to try and curb the pedestrian safety issues at hand in Delaware,” said Alison Kirk, community relations officer for the Delaware Office of Highway Safety.

As 2015 begins, OHS will conduct its first traffic safety mobilization of the new year focusing on unrestrained and improperly restrained occupants in vehicles, as well as speeding drivers. Beginning January 16, state and local law enforcement agencies across the state will be conducting overtime saturation patrols after 2:00 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday when this crash problem is at its highest. Examples of improperly worn seat belts are those that are put behind the back or under the arm.  For a seat belt to be effective and save a life, it must be worn properly with the lap belt low and snug across the hips and the shoulder harness worn across the shoulder and chest with minimal slack.

For more information visit our website for updates at www.ohs.delaware.gov, follow us on Twitter @DEHighwaySafe, , or like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ArriveAliveDE.


Motorcycle Safety Enforcement Begins September 11th

Dover –The Delaware Office of Highway Safety (OHS) along with state and local law enforcement are reminding motorists and motorcyclists alike to See & Be Seen during Delmarva Bike Week.  From September 11th to 15th, law enforcement across the state will be patrolling high crash roadways ensuring that both motorists and motorcyclists are riding and driving safe and sharing the road.  Motorists are reminded to look twice for motorcyclists before pulling out from an intersection or cross roads and motorcyclists are reminded that they need to comply with the state’s motorcycle safety laws including having the proper motorcycle endorsement on their license.

Agencies participating in the increased enforcement include Bethany Beach PD, Dewey Beach PD, Dover PD, Fenwick Island PD, Georgetown PD, Lewes PD, Milford PD, Milton PD, New Castle County PD, Newark PD, Rehoboth Beach PD, and DSP.

To date Delaware has experienced 15 motorcycle fatalities compared to 14 at this time last year.

Tips for drivers on how to prevent a fatal crash with a motorcycle;

  • Though a motorcycle is a small vehicle, its operator still has all the rights of the road as any other motorist. Allow the motorcycle the full width of a lane at all times.
  • Always signal when changing lanes or merging with traffic.
  • If you see a motorcycle with a signal on, be careful: motorcycle signals are often non-canceling and could have been forgotten. Always ensure that the motorcycle is turning before proceeding.
  • Check all mirrors and blind spots for motorcycles before changing lanes or merging with traffic, especially at intersections.
  • Always allow more following distance – three to four seconds – when behind a motorcycle. This gives them more time to maneuver or stop in an emergency.
  • Never drive distracted or impaired.

Motorcyclists can increase their safety by following these steps:

  • Wear a DOT-compliant helmet and other protective gear.
  • Obey all traffic laws and be properly licensed.
  • Use hand and turn signals at every lane change or turn.
  • Wear brightly colored clothes and reflective tape to increase visibility.
  • Ride in the middle of the lane where you will be more visible to drivers.
  • Never ride distracted or impaired.

For more information visit www.MotorcycleSafetyDE.org and follow regular campaign updates on Twitter at www.twitter.com/DEHighwaySafe and Facebook www.facebook.com/ArriveAliveDE.


Highway Safety Officials Stress Traffic Enforcement

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.

 


Highway Safety Officials Urge Caution After Four Fatal Crashes Occur in One Weekend

Dover –Four fatal crashes occurred on Delaware roadways last weekend that claimed the lives of 5 individuals. The fatal crashes involved a motorcycle, scooter, and 2 motor vehicles.

A variety of factors were at work in the crashes according to State Police reports and all are still under investigation.  This brings the number of people killed on Delaware roads since January 1st to 28, compared to 20 at this time last year.

“As we head into summer we will see an increase in traffic with families traveling for vacations and holidays. We cannot stress enough how important it is to be cautious every moment you are behind the wheel,” said Jana Simpler, Director for the Delaware Office of Highway Safety (OHS).  “Please slow down, take your time, limit your distractions, and never drive after drinking.”

The Office of Highway Safety has conducted several traffic safety enforcement and education campaigns this year and has planned additional enforcement and educational mobilizations that will target speeding, occupant protection, impaired driving, motorcycle, and pedestrian laws as follows;

Motorcycle mobilization;

April 21-May 2; June 23-28; July 7-12; August 4-9; September 11-15

Speed mobilization;

May 1-10; July 1-12; August 7-9; September 2-13

Pedestrian mobilization;

May 8-16; June 12-27; July 10-25; August 7-29; September 4-13

Seat belt mobilization;

May 12-26; June 6-19; July 18-31

Impaired driving mobilization;

May 23-26; July 18-August 2; July 25-August 2; August 15-September 1

The easiest way to reduce the risk of being involved in a crash is to practice safe driving behaviors.  No matter how long you have been driving, or if you just started to drive, here are some driving tips that will help you and your passengers to arrive alive.

Driving Tips

1)      Slow down- research by the European Road Safety Observatory has shown that for every mile per hour you drive, the likelihood of being in a crash increases by four to five percent. At higher speeds, the risk increases much more quickly.

2)      Never drive impaired- even 1 alcohol beverage can affect your motor skills and cause delayed reaction or blurred vision.

3)      Put the phone down- putting your attention to the cell phone call, text, tweet, or post behind the wheel can delay reaction times by as much as 20 percent.

4)      Always buckle up- when worn properly, seat belts can prevent you from being thrown around the inside of a crashing vehicle or, worse, thrown through the windshield or completely out of the vehicle.

5)      Don’t drive drowsy- just being a little drowsy is enough to increase your risk of being involved in a crash. Drowsy responses can range from dozing off for a few seconds at a time to simply “zoning out” and losing all focus on the road. At highway speeds, one or two seconds of inattention can lead to disaster.

For more information on any of the OHS campaigns visit www.ohs.delaware.gov and follow regular campaign updates on Twitter at www.twitter.com/DEHighwaySafe and Facebook www.facebook.com/ArriveAliveDE.