Why police are using non-traditional vehicles for traffic enforcement

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Delaware State Police Sgt. Tony Mendez gives parting instructions to (from left) Cpl. Michael Morgan, Cpl. Chris Garcia, Cpl. Mike Fezza, Trooper Kyle Marvel and Cpl. James Smith, who all were a part of a distracted driving operation Thursday in Kent County.
With funding from the Delaware Office of Highway Safety (OHS), the Delaware State Police (DSP) are using unconventional vehicles to spot drivers who break our distracted driving laws.

DOVER (DE): Delaware law enforcement agencies are taking highway safety to a whole new level, as they use tactics to the eyes of distracted drivers back on the road. In addition to distracted driving enforcement, police are also looking for traffic safety violations, including seat belt violations.

According to a press release by police spokesman, Richard Baratz with the Delaware State Police, “Two enforcement efforts were implemented on March 29 and April 12, 2018. The first netted 13 violations for distracted driving, 6 seat belt violations, and 5 other violations for a total of 24 tickets issued. The second enforcement resulted in 17 distracted driving violations, 5 seatbelt violations, and 5 other violations, including one person arrested for driving under the influence of drugs, possession of drugs and drug paraphernalia.”

(Photo: Delaware State Police) Police are using unconventional vehicles to step up traffic enforcement in Delaware.

In the release, Bratz added, “Driving needs your full attention and one quick look at a cell phone or a glance at the radio can divert your attention away from the roadway and lead to a crash. Public Safety on our roads is a top priority, as such we have partnered with the Delaware Office of Highway Safety to enhance enforcement targeting those who are driving distracted,”

“We want Delaware motorists to understand the risks of cell phone and other mobile device usage while driving. Taking your eyes off the road for even a few seconds could result in a crash that could result in serious injury or death. We are serious about enforcement of our traffic laws for everyone’s safety,” said Mitch Topal, OHS Marketing Specialist and Public Information Officer.

According to a National Traffic Safety Administration research, there were 37,461 people killed in crashes on U.S. roadways during 2016, an increase from 35,485 in 2015.

The 5.6-percent increase is lower than the 8.4-percent increase from 2014 to 2015. The largest percentage increase prior to the 8.4-percent increase was the 9.4-percent increase from 1963 to 1964.

NHTSA

Fatalities increased from 2015 to 2016 in almost all segments of the population—passenger vehicle occupants, occupants of large trucks, pedestrians, pedal-cyclists, motorcyclists, alcohol-impaired driving, male/female, and daytime/nighttime.

According to NHTSA, “Nationally and in Delaware, distracted driving fatalities have been trending upward since 2012. Texting while driving has become an especially problematic trend among millennials. Young drivers 16 to 24 years old have been observed using handheld electronic devices while driving at higher rates than older drivers since 2007.”

The Delaware OHS recognizes that this is becoming a serious problem and is taking steps to reverse this trend in our state. Along with unconventional enforcement strategies, we are employing a concentrated paid media campaign with the theme, “Don’t be the You You Hate.”

Photo: DHSA

According to the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention, motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teens in the United States. Based on miles driven, teen drivers are three times as likely to be in fatal crashes as drivers age 20 and older.

If you find it hard to keep your hands off your phone while driving, don’t worry, there are some resources available to help you, and with today’s growing technology, you bet there’s a phone app for that too. Here are some resources from the arrivealivede.com website.

Photo: Delaware Highway Safety Admin

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