Delaware authorities to target distracted drivers

DOVER — Keep your eyes on the road!

The Delaware Office of Highway Safety (OHS) and Delaware law enforcement agencies urge motorists to focus on driving and eliminate the use of hand-held cell phones to engage in texting and other distracting behaviors while driving.

Over a four year period (2012-2016), March was found to be the highest months in terms of cell phone related crashes in Delaware.

OHS reminds drivers that using a hand-held cell phone device is a distraction. Hands-free means no texting, checking email, using social media or taking selfies or pictures.

“Keep your hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road,” OHS Director Jana Simpler said. “Your actions in your vehicle may endanger you and other drivers around you.”

Through March 19, police statewide will conduct additional enforcement with the goal of focusing their efforts on distracted drivers. Other traffic safety violations will be addressed as observed.

Delaware’s cell phone law is a primary offense, the OHS said. This law bans the use of any hand-held device while operating your vehicle.

You can use a hands-free technology in order to use a cell phone to talk while driving.

However, if you have to make a call, it’s best to find a place to pull over so that your attention isn’t taken away from driving, according to the OHS.

If a police officer observes you using a handheld device while driving they can stop you for the violation and cite you $100 (plus court costs) for your first offense.

If you get caught again, penalties can increase to $300.

Distracted driving facts include:

• A four-year analysis of Delaware crash data (2012-2016) reveals 55% of all cell phone related crashes are caused by drivers under the age of 30.

• For those under 30, 60% of the crashes are caused by male drivers.

• 77 percent of all cell phone related crashes occur between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m.

• New Castle County accounts for 62 percent of all cell phone related crashes.

• Kent County accounts for 17 percent of all cell phone related crashes.

• Sussex County accounts for 21 percent of all cell phone related crashes.

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