Keeping Kids Safe: The Delaware Office of Highway Safety Promotes National Child Passenger Safety Week

Media Contact:

Veronica Marshall

Traffic Safety Outreach Coordinator

Veronica.Marshall@Delaware.Gov


Car crashes are a leading cause of death for children – let’s change that

OHS Promotes National Child Passenger Safety Week

September 19 – 25, 2021

Car seats save lives - but they need to be used correctly


[DOVER, Del.] September 15, 2021 — Car crashes are a leading cause of death for children, according to the latest National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) data. A child is involved in a crash while riding in a passenger vehicle, on average, every 25 seconds. Over the last five years (2016 – 2020), 1,242 children were admitted to Delaware hospitals as the result of a crash. On average nationally, two children under 13 were killed and an estimated 374 were injured every day in 2019 while riding in cars, SUVs, pickups, and vans. 608 child passenger vehicle occupants died in traffic crashes in 2019.

While the fatality numbers are significantly lower than they were in 2018 — a 4% decrease — there is still a lot of work to be done to keep all children safe on America’s roadways. 38% of children who died in 2019 while riding in passenger vehicles were unrestrained, compared to 33% in 2018.


Car seats save lives – but they need to be used correctly

As parents or caregivers, we want to ensure our children are as safe as possible, no matter the situation. Correctly installed car seats and booster seats are a critical component of children’s safety. When installed correctly, car seats can reduce the risk of fatal injury in a crash by 71% for infants and by 54% for toddlers.

But according to the NHTSA, while most caregivers are confident that they have correctly installed their child’s car seat, almost half have been installed incorrectly. Here in Delaware, four out of five child safety seats are not installed correctly.


What caregivers can do:

What caregivers can do:

“We know the list of things that parents do out of love for their children is long. Adding car seat safety to that list is essential to a child’s well-being,” says Kimberly Chesser, Director, Delaware Office of Highway Safety. “During Child Passenger Safety Week in September, I encourage all parents and caregivers to take advantage of the free, online material that can be used to make sure children are in the right car seats for their ages and sizes, and that the seats are installed correctly. But our commitment to child passenger safety extends well beyond September. Our certified child passenger safety technicians are available for in-person or virtual seat checks year-round as well.”

“Children grow quickly, parents and caregivers should re-evaluate their car seats and booster seats routinely,” Chesser continues. “Take some time to take a second look at your car seats and booster seats. Make sure these car seats fit your children appropriately, and that they are correctly installed in your vehicle.”

On Saturday, September 25, local caregivers are invited to stop by Christiana Hospital's Newark Campus for our free our Seat Check Saturday event. From 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., certified child passenger safety technicians will help families correctly install car seats and booster seats.


What we’re doing:

As part of Child Passenger Safety Week, OHS is hosting a free event to make sure children are safely secured in their car seats and booster seats, and caregivers have the confidence to install those seats independently.

On Saturday, September 25, local caregivers are invited to stop by Christiana Hospital’s Newark Campus for our free our Seat Check Saturday event.

From 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., certified child passenger safety technicians will help families correctly install car seats and booster seats. The technicians will also help register attendee’s child safety seats, and check if the seats have been part of a recall or if they have expired.

If caregivers are unable to come to this event, they can schedule a one-on-one in-person or virtual seat check.

 


delaware office of highway safety logo

About 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.


Office of Highway Safety Upgrades “Walk Smart, Arrive Alive” Campaign to Increase Safety Over Memorial Day Weekend

Strategic enhancements to the pedestrian safety campaign leverage grassroots influence and broad communications reach throughout Delaware

DOVER, DE. (May 27, 2021) — This Memorial Day, The Delaware Office of Highway Safety (OHS) is bringing back its “Walk Smart, Arrive Alive” campaign — with a few additions designed to expand its reach and impact on some of the most at-risk pedestrian populations in the state. Implemented in partnership with the Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT) and Delaware Authority for Regional Transit (DART), the communications campaign aims to discourage risky pedestrian activities and encourage the adoption of safer walking habits that can prevent injuries and save lives long after the holiday weekend is over.

OHS is excited to add curbside art to the upcoming enforcement campaign, creating dynamic displays at busy transit and bus stops statewide that will cause pedestrians to “stop in their tracks” and think about ways their walking habits could put themselves as well as other pedestrians, drivers, and cyclists at risk of crashes. Like all other elements of the campaign, these installations will also provide tips and education to help Delaware residents, workers and visitors change behaviors and walk more safely to reduce pedestrian deaths.

The curbside art will be integrated with a comprehensive list of communications tactics — including digital advertising, paid and organic social media, public relations, and grassroots outreach — motivating pedestrians to “be bright” in what they wear and how they walk, every day and everywhere. Additionally, OHS has created a communications toolkit that partnering businesses and organizations, such as bars, restaurants, realtors, rental agencies, and housing authorities, will use to reach niche markets they serve with messaging that encourages pedestrian safety and discourages distracted driving. Grotto’s Pizza has also partnered with OHS by sponsoring a $100 gift card giveaway to motivate Delawareans to make a pedestrian safety pledge by texting WALK BRIGHT to 99000.

While every time of the year is important to the pedestrian safety initiative, OHS is looking at this Memorial Day holiday with a heightened degree of urgency.

“Pedestrian traffic is increasing, and more motorists are on the road as people are eager to make up for the lost time after the pandemic restricted so many activities,” said Kimberly Chesser, Director, Delaware Office of Highway Safety. “This Memorial Day will in many ways mark a return to normal and the ability for many to be able to relax and have fun again. And that can mean greater risk to pedestrians posed by everything from not paying attention to street signs to walking during the darkest hours of the evening without a flashlight and walking or driving while impaired. We have to get our message out in front of pedestrians and drivers — repeatedly and in a variety of places where they work, live, and play — to combat dangerous behaviors that can work against roadway and sidewalk safety.”

The “Walk Smart, Arrive Alive” re-launch is spearheaded by OHS and implemented by state and local law enforcement, and will run from May 28 – September 6 in Delaware beach communities and from July 15 – July 31 statewide and work to encourage safer roadways by reducing risk factors such as distracted driving, speeding, and driving under the influence.

Walk Bright pedestrian safety creative demonstrating walking bright at night with a flashlight and bright clothing in English
The “Cheswick the Crab” (featured image) and the “Walk Bright, Walk Smart” pedestrian campaign graphics will be featured in the statewide curb art installations this summer.

Delaware Statistics: Pedestrian Crashes

Data continues to show that New Castle County has a disproportionately higher number of pedestrian crashes, which in large part is attributed to the urban nature of the county. Kent and Sussex’s counties are roughly equal in the number of pedestrian crashes year-round, however, Sussex County tends to see an uptick during the summer months due to more residents and visitors heading to beach communities.

Pedestrian crashes peak around the evening rush hour, with the period of 5:00-7:00 p.m. seeing the greatest number of crashes. The period from 7:00-9:00 p.m. has the second-highest pedestrian crash rate.

While the most common factors contributing to pedestrian crashes involve individuals being under the influence, crossing outside of crosswalks, and wearing dark-colored clothing—in 2020 in Delaware, walking in unlit or dark conditions accounted for 55% of pedestrian crashes.

Additional statistics for the state include:

  • In 2019, pedestrian fatalities accounted for 24% of overall traffic fatalities.
  • In 2019, 50% of pedestrian fatalities involved impairment.
  • Pedestrian fatalities most often occur for individuals aged 35-54.
  • Since 2016, 85% of pedestrian fatalities occurred on roadways with a speed limit of 35 mph or higher.
  • Since 2016, 83% of pedestrian fatalities occurred in the dusk/dark lighting conditions.

Tips for Increasing Safety

OHS offers the following guidelines while walking along Delaware’s roadways:

  • Cross lawfully. Cross only at crosswalks or intersections with signals or traffic signs.
  • Be predictable. Follow the rules and obey signs and signals.
  • Look carefully. Watch for cars coming from all directions.
  • Avoid distractions. Turn off handheld devices when crossing the street.
  • Be visible. When walking at night, carry a flashlight, avoid wearing dark clothing, wear reflective items.
  • Use sidewalks. If there isn’t one, walk facing traffic, as far from traffic as possible.
  • Be patient. Wait for cars to stop before stepping into a crosswalk.
  • Be sober. Do not walk under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • Never assume. Make sure drivers see you by making eye contact before walking.

Key Enforcement Locations

OHS will fund pedestrian safety enforcement during the special enforcement periods (May 28-September 6 in Delaware beach communities and from July 1-July 31 statewide). An emphasis will be placed on these locations:

  • Central Newark (bounded by DE-896, Cleveland Avenue, Library Avenue, and Delaware Avenue)
  • Western Wilmington (south of Delaware Avenue, west of I-95 – summary analysis)
  • US-13/40 corridor
  • Limestone Road (DE-7)
  • Kirkwood Highway (DE-2)
  • Concord Pike (US202)
  • Philadelphia Pike (Business-13)
  • Middletown town limits

For more information on the campaign, statistics, and education on pedestrian safety, visit https://www.arrivealivede.com/Walk-Smart/.

Office of Highway Safety 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 the Delaware Office of Highway Safety on ArriveAliveDE.comFacebookTwitterInstagram, and Snapchat.


Delaware Office Of Highway Safety Launches “Be Alert And Arrive Alive” Distracted Driving Campaign

DELAWARE OFFICE OF HIGHWAY SAFETY LAUNCHES

“BE ALERT AND ARRIVE ALIVE” CAMPAIGN DURING

NATIONAL DISTRACTED DRIVING AWARENESS MONTH

Integrated campaign strategy leverages the reach and influence of Delaware businesses, community partners, and law enforcement to maximize distracted driving awareness 

DOVER, Del. (April 8, 2021)The Delaware Office of Highway Safety (OHS) is leveraging the momentum of National Distracted Driving Awareness Month (April) to launch the new “Be Alert and Arrive Alive” campaign focused on motivating Delawareans to stop activities behind the wheel that contribute to one of the leading causes of crashes in the state. According to the most recent data available from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), distracted driving resulted in 3,142 fatalities nationwide in 2019, a ten percent increase from 2018 indicating that distracted driving is a growing traffic safety problem.  Distracted driving is as dangerous, if not more dangerous, than drinking and driving. A NHTSA study found that texting while driving is six times more likely to cause a crash than driving under the influence. While the campaign aims to motivate safer behavior among all drivers, OHS is specifically targeting a significant population of distracted driving offenders: males ages 16 to 24 in urban and rural areas of the state. To further gain the attention of this critical audience, communications will focus on putting the dangers of distracted driving and drunk driving on equal footing. But make no mistake: It isn’t just young people who are driving distracted, since drivers in other age groups don’t lag far behind.

“By driving distracted, you’re losing valuable seconds that you may need to avoid a close call or deadly crash,” said Kimberly Chesser, Director, Delaware Office of Highway Safety. “Unfortunately, many people don’t consider distracted driving anywhere near as dangerous as drinking and driving. But OHS wants to correct this misconception to drive home the point of this campaign and help people realize just how serious distracted driving is. The number of distractions is growing all the time, and the consequences of both impaired driving and smartphone use behind the wheel can result in deaths and serious injuries.”

The OHS distracted driving campaign will correspond with two special enforcement periods (April 2–22 and July 15–Aug. 19) being implemented by state and local law enforcement in 2021. OHS is collaborating with several businesses such as cellphone providers, mechanics and gas/convenience stores, and community partners to help deliver the distracted driving awareness message to the public and deliver key messaging directly to the targeted young-male audience. OHS’s campaign strategy will utilize a comprehensive list of communications tactics including digital advertising, paid and organic social media, public relations, grassroots outreach, and the creation of communication toolkits for partnering businesses and organizations. Also, if pandemic guidelines allow, OHS hopes to engage safely with Delawareans at public events during the summer enforcement period.

“Now more than ever, we are faced every day with choices. Some are simple, some more complex. The choices you make when you get in your vehicle should be easy. Make a conscious effort to put your phone down and buckle up when you’re ready to drive. By making this choice, you are choosing to protect yourself and those you care about,” Sarah Cattie, Distracted Driving Program Manager, Delaware Office of Highway Safety.

2020 Distracted Driving Delaware Statistics*

  • 37% of drivers involved in distracted driving crashes were between the ages of 20 and 29, with 63% of those being males.
  • 43% of distracted driving crashes resulted in injuries; 12 distracted-driving-related deaths occurred resulting in 11% of the overall fatalities for 2020.
  • Distracted driving crashes occurred most often between the hours of 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. with Saturday having the highest number of crashes.
  • It takes your brain 13 seconds before it refocuses on the road after looking at a cellphone.
  • If a person takes their eyes off the road for just 5 seconds while driving at just 30 mph, the vehicle will travel approximately 75 yards in an unsafe “distracted” situation.

*Please note, there are pending investigations for 2020 and these are not final statistics for 2020. They are generated from the most recent data available at the time of this press release.

OHS encourages drivers to use the 5-Second Rule Tool, available here, to help them visualize how far their vehicle will travel at any given speed during “just a glance” at a cellphone, radio display, GPS, etc.

Distractions to Avoid

  • Texting or talking on a handheld phone (including speakerphone)
  • Searching for items in a purse or wallet
  • Checking the GPS
  • Watching a crash on the side of the road
  • Changing the radio or music selection
  • Talking with passengers
  • Reaching for an item that has fallen on the floor

According to OHS, the best rule to follow is to prepare everything, from silencing your cellphone to adjusting temperature levels, seat position, and mirrors before getting behind the wheel or starting the engine to prevent distracting temptations.

Key Enforcement Locations

OHS will fund distracted driving enforcement across the state during the special enforcement periods.  An emphasis will be placed on the key locations listed below.

  • DE-4 Newark/Christiana area (between Marrows Road and DE-58)
  • US-40 Bear area (between DE-72 and DE-7)
  • DE-24 Laurel area (between Shiloh Church Road and Curley Drive)
  • Georgetown (town limits)
  • DE-1 Lewes/Rehoboth area (DE-1/Wescoats Road between Savannah Road and Rehoboth Avenue split)

For more information on the campaign, statistics, and education on eliminating distracted driving risks, visit ArriveAliveDE.com/Be-Alert/. 

About 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 the Delaware Office of Highway Safety on ArriveAliveDE.com, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat.


Don’t Be A Statistic: Designate a Sober Driver for St. Patrick’s Weekend

High Visibility Enforcement Against Impaired Driving Scheduled for
March 1
1-21 in Maryland and Delaware Along US 13 and US 113

DOVER, DE (March 12, 2021) – This year St. Patrick’s Day may look a little different as Delaware continues to stress social distancing and COVID-19 precautions. But for those planning to celebrate with family and friends, the Delaware Office of Highway Safety, Maryland Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Administration’s (MDOT MVA) Highway Safety Office, and local law enforcement want to make sure they stay safe by driving sober or making a plan for a sober ride home.

For the fourth year, more than 20 transportation and law enforcement agencies from Delaware and Maryland will conduct saturation patrols and sobriety checkpoints along the 145 miles of US 13 (Ocean Highway) and nearly 75 miles of US 113 (Worcester Highway) on the Delmarva Peninsula beginning Thursday, March 11, and continuing through Sunday, March 21. St. Patrick’s Day is Wednesday, March 17.

In Delaware, the Office of Highway Safety (OHS) will also partner with additional agencies statewide for this year’s high visibility enforcement focused along the US 13 corridor. Last year during the St. Patrick’s Day holiday period, a total of 102 arrests for impaired driving were made statewide in Delaware.

Coinciding with high-visibility enforcement efforts, Delaware’s Office of Highway Safety will share the Be Driven Not to Drive campaign through a variety of platforms throughout the state including billboards, English and Spanish print media, social media platforms, music streaming services, and television/online streaming services. The campaign combines visible tactics with a publicity strategy to educate the public and promote safe driving behaviors in compliance with the law. de visualizer crash data mapping tool photo

“Partnering with Maryland allows our efforts to be amplified as we combat impaired driving during this holiday period,” said Delaware OHS Deputy Director Richard Klepner. “OHS will partner with law enforcement throughout Delaware with increased visibility and presence on our roadways. There’s no excuse to drink and drive. Even one can be too many. Plan ahead to have a sober ride.”

In anticipation of the St. Patrick’s Day DUI enforcement and campaign initiatives, OHS has launched a first-of-its-kind digital tool called the Arrive Alive DE Visualizer DUI-Involved Crash Tool to share information with Delawareans and visitors on crash locations and educate website visitors to drive sober. Housed on the Arrive Alive DE website, this 5-year snapshot of DUI-involved crashes shows the concentration of crashes across the state through an interactive heat map.

In addition to the Arrive Alive DE Visualizer DUI-Involved Crash Tool, OHS has launched other versions of the digital tool for occupant protection and pedestrian safety. The Arrive Alive DE Visualizer is designed to educate drivers and pedestrians to help save lives in Delaware and Arrive Alive to their destination. Visit ArriveAliveDE.com to explore this digital tool and more on highway safety education in Delaware.

“Impaired driving is never the right choice so if you do plan to go out, be sure to plan ahead for a sober ride home,” said MDOT MVA Administrator Chrissy Nizer, who also serves as Governor Larry Hogan’s Highway Safety Representative. “Every year, families lose loved ones to impaired driving crashes. It’s up to each of us to prevent these tragedies from occurring.”

In 2019, 535 people were killed on Maryland’s roadways and one-third of those deaths involved someone impaired by alcohol, drugs, or both. During last year’s enforcement effort, participating agencies issued 703 citations in Wicomico, Somerset, and Worcester counties – including 205 for speeding – and made 18 arrests for impaired driving.

To coincide with the high visibility enforcement, the MDOT MVA’s Highway Safety Office will also share Be the Make A Plan Driver and Be the Sober Driver messages on a variety of social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat.

Maryland plan ahead for a sober driver highway safety campaign

Maryland designate a sober driver highway safety campaign

 

Additional information on Maryland’s Be the Driver campaign can be found here.

More information on Delaware’s Be Driven Not to Drive campaign is available here.

 

 

 

Office of Highway Safety Logo

About 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 the Delaware Office of Highway Safety on ArriveAliveDE.com, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat.

 

Maryland Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Administration Logo

 

About the Maryland Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Administration (MDOT MVA) Highway Safety Office 

Learn more about the MDOT MVA’s Highway Safety Office at ZeroDeathsMD.gov or on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram at @ZeroDeathsMD.

CONTACT:

Cynthia Cavett, Delaware Office of Highway Safety, Cynthia.Cavett@delaware.gov

Whitney Nichels, MDOT MVA, wnichels@mdot.maryland.gov


Office of Highway Safety Launches Operation Crash Reduction & “New” ArriveAliveDE.com

Delaware Office of Highway Safety Launches Operation Crash Reduction and New Website Over Most Dangerous Holiday Period

DOVER, Del. (October 5, 2020) – The Delaware Office of Highway Safety (DOHS) is launching a combination of initiatives over this October holiday weekend, which is the most dangerous time of the year for fatal crashes in the state with increased vehicular travel. To help drivers and passengers remember the importance of buckling up, the DOHS is teaming with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to check for seat belt usage in an initiative called Operation Crash Reduction. Additionally, DOHS is relaunching its highway safety website, ArriveAliveDE.com, with more information and interactive tools to help inform Delawareans of road safety practices, including seat belt usage.

Operation Crash Reduction focuses on Delaware, the District of Columbia, Kentucky, Maryland, North Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia. According to NHTSA, from 2014 to 2018, this region had its highest number of fatal crashes (882) between the dates of October 1 and 15, and October was the month when most fatal crashes occurred. This regional campaign runs from October 9 through October 12 and includes a social media campaign to further raise awareness.

“During Operation Crash Reduction and all year long, our mission is to reduce crashes on Delaware roadways and save lives,” explains Kimberly Chesser, Director, Delaware Office of Highway Safety. “With more cars on the road during this holiday period, there is more speeding, distracted driving, and impaired driving behaviors, which lead to more crashes. We strive to provide our citizens with the information they need to stay safe, and that includes wearing your seat belt because buckling up provides the best defense against injury or death in a crash,” says Chesser. 

Through the relaunched website, ArriveAliveDE.com, DOHS reminds drivers of the importance of seat belt use and other safe driving practices. “ArriveAliveDE.com contains the most up-to-date information on road safety to help Delawareans adopt safe driving, walking, and riding behaviors,” says Cynthia Cavett, Marketing Specialist II & Public Information Officer, Delaware Office of Highway Safety. “The site allows visitors to navigate and learn by road safety topic or by user role, such as driver or pedestrian. It features numerous new interactive tools and quizzes, all designed to educate Delawareans on road safety. Visitors can also register for upcoming DUI checkpoint text alerts,” explains Cavett.

Delawareans will find a dynamic, centralized repository of road safety information at ArriveAliveDE.com detailing nine road safety topics determined to be the priority areas by the Office of Highway Safety’s rigorous analyses of crash data and trends. These include Seat Belt Safety, Distracted Driving, Drunk Driving, Drugged Driving, Speeding, Pedestrian Safety, Child Passenger Safety, Motorcycle Safety, and Teen Driver Safety.

“It’s very important to get out the Buckle Up message because seat belts save lives. We invite all Delawareans to visit ArriveAliveDE.com to learn more about seat belt safety and other road safety topics to help save lives and reduce crashes across our state,” says Sarah Cattie, Occupant Protection Program Manager, Delaware Office of Highway Safety.

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About 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. FAQs can be found at ArriveAliveDE.com.

 

Media Contact:

Cynthia Cavett

Marketing Specialist II & Public Information Officer

Phone: (302) 943-7293

Email address: Cynthia.Cavett@Delaware.Gov