Safe holiday driving campaign launched

DOVER — The Delaware Office of Highway Safety announced the launch of its new Safe Family Holiday Campaign with a kick-off event on Monday.

The campaign, which runs through Jan. 1, reinforces the importance of safe driving habits during one of the busiest travel times of the year. Through a combination of tactics — high visibility enforcement, traditional media, social media, and grassroots efforts partnering with restaurants, businesses, and other traffic safety partners — OHS will educate Delawareans about the increased dangers associated with holiday driving to reduce crashes and fatalities on Delaware roadways during the holiday season.

“Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day is one of the most dangerous periods on Delaware roadways with drivers, passengers, and pedestrians being seriously or fatally injured in crashes,” said OHS Director Kim Chesser.

“Our Safe Family Holiday campaign is a creative awareness, educational, and enforcement campaign that reminds Delawareans of what makes holiday travel so dangerous. Most importantly, it also encourages everyone to drive sober, walk smart, slow down, buckle up and put the phone down. OHS, along with our traffic safety partners, want to bring everyone home safe this holiday season.”

Carolers will be on-site at a number of prominent community events and locations throughout the state, performing their newest round of holiday favorites with a unique safety-messaging twist. They will be joined by street teams that will encourage those in attendance to pledge responsible driving during the holidays.

The annual Safe Family Holiday enforcement period began Monday and will continue to Jan. 1 with Delaware State Police and local law enforcement agencies focusing on impaired driving, speed, pedestrian safety, occupant protection, and distracted driving.

OHS said recent statistics emphasize reason to focus on these core areas of travel safety during this campaign.
• DUIs: From Jan. 1 to Nov. 21 this year, the state of Delaware has seen 3,722 arrests and 18 fatalities related to impaired driving.
• Speeding: in 2018 Delaware had 34 fatalities related to speed.

• Pedestrians: Over the past five years, 145 pedestrians have been killed in traffic crashes; in 2018, 24 pedestrians were killed in crashes on Delaware roadways.
• Failure to use seatbelts: In 2018, 53 percent of fatalities were unbuckled.
SoberLyft reactivation

OHS also announced the reactivation of the SoberLift program, in partnership with Lyft, over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, statewide. The program will begin today at 3 p.m. and run through Sunday at 2 a.m., and will provide free Lyft vouchers (maximum value of $15) for individuals who want a safe ride during that period. To participate in the program, individuals need to text “SOBERLIFT” to 99000 to redeem the discount code.

“Thanksgiving Eve is one of the biggest drinking nights of the year, thus making it one of the most dangerous nights,” Ms. Chesser said.
“We want to make sure that everyone arrives alive to their Thanksgiving and post-Thanksgiving celebrations. This is why we are reactivating SoberLift statewide and strongly urge those out celebrating to plan ahead and take advantage of this program.”

Thanksgiving checkpoints
The OHS is coordinating the Thanksgiving Eve Checkpoint Strikeforce in each county statewide beginning today at 10 p.m. to Thursday at 2 a.m. The initiative will reinforce the Safe Family Holiday enforcement and educational campaigns to keep impaired drivers off our roads. Delaware State Police and local law enforcement will be conducting DUI checkpoints in all three counties in the following locations:

• New Castle County — Del. 72 in Newark
• Kent County — South State Street in Dover
• Sussex County — Del. 1 in Rehoboth Beach

Singing for safety
Carolers will be on site during the following Office of Highway Safety Safe Family Holiday Awareness Campaign events:
• Saturday, Dec. 7 from 6 to 8 p.m.: Winter WonderFEST2019 in Milton
• Sunday, Dec. 8 from 3 to 5 p.m.: Christmas In Smyrna at the Smyrna Opera House in Smyrna

• Monday, Dec. 9 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.: Caroling on the Circle in Georgetown
• Saturday, Dec. 14 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.: Christiana Mall in Newark
• Saturday, Dec. 21 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.: Dover Mall in Dover

Reach the Delaware State News newsroom at newsroom@newszap.com

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