This past weekend, the Delaware Office of Highway Safety, Maryland Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Administration (MDOT MVA), law enforcement and transportation officials from Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia, partnered for the second year to save lives on our roadways during the St. Patrick’s Day weekend.
DOVER (DE): Law enforcement from 36 agencies across the three states teamed up for a High Visibility Enforcement (HVE) effort on US 13 and US 113 throughout the Delmarva Peninsula.
During last year’s effort participating agencies in Maryland issued 125 citations, including 45 for speeding, and made four impaired driving arrests.
In Virginia, there were 278 alcohol-related fatalities in 2018, which is 34 percent of overall traffic deaths. The chance of being in an alcohol-related crash in Virginia is one-in-six over the course of a lifetime.
“Reducing and ultimately eliminating drunk driving will go a long way toward reaching our goal of zero deaths on Virginia roadways,” said Virginia DMV Commissioner Richard D. Holcomb, the Governor’s Highway Safety Representative. “Law enforcement agencies partnering across state lines sends a strong message to drivers — we are committed to saving lives and vow to work together to make our roadways safer for everyone.”
This past weekend, the last of four initiatives was conducted in Sussex County on Saturday, March 16, 2019, during the mid-afternoon time frame. The area targeted during this initiative was secondary roadways in the Lewes area. During this operation, Troopers utilized a stationary unconventional vehicle to spot distracted driving violations as well as seatbelt violations.
Once a violation was observed, the Troopers were provided with a description of the vehicle and operator, along with a detailed description of the violation. The Troopers then conducted a traffic stop. During the four hour initiative, a total of 19 citations were issued for infractions including cell phone usage, seatbelt and child restraint violations and a civil possession of marijuana.
The Delaware State Police and Delaware OHS recognize that distracted driving caused by the use of personal electronic devices is a very dangerous behavior that continues to make our roadways less safe. Distracted driving is an ever growing problem and the hope is that through enforcement initiatives along with educational opportunities, we can send the message that texting/talking while driving is not only illegal but can be deadly.
“These initiatives reinforce the message that Delaware is sending to the public. We have a zero-tolerance policy for distracted driving. The Delaware State Police and Office of Highway Safety are stepping up enforcement and education for distracted driving through traditional and non-traditional projects, such as this one, across the state throughout the year. This last of the series of four non-traditional initiatives come on the cusp of National Distracted Driving Awareness month in April,” Cynthia Cavett, OHS Marketing Specialist and Public Information Officer.
According to NHTSA, 3,450 people were killed across the country in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers in 2016. 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.