Delaware State Police crack down on distracted driving, issuing over 50 citations in enforcement effort

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Delaware State Police and the Delaware Office of Highway Safety (OHS) have joined forces to address the issue of distracted driving by conducting a series of statewide enforcement initiatives.

This enforcement initiative took place during the morning and mid-afternoon time frames, on State Route 1 and along the Rt. 13 corridor in the Troop 2 area, and along the Kirkwood Hwy corridor., between Prices Corner and Rt. 7, in the Troop 6 area.

The operation involved uniformed Troopers in fully marked patrol vehicles, who worked in conjunction with plain clothes Troopers, who were operating non-conventional vehicles.

A team of plain clothes Troopers manned vehicles such as work vans, SUV’s and sedans, which were utilized as mobile observation platforms in order to identify motorists who were texting/talking or otherwise using handheld electronic devices while driving.

Once a violation was observed, the uniformed Troopers were provided with a description of the vehicle and operator, along with a detailed description of the illegal activity. They then conducted a vehicle stop.

During this initiative a total of 52 motorist contacts were made for distracted driving. In addition to issuing citations, troopers also used the interactions as an educational opportunity and disseminated informational literature.

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.