OHS Launches Statewide Speed Enforcement Campaign

by Dave on July 6, 2009

Stop Speeding Before It Stops You! – OHS Launches Statewide Speed Enforcement Campaign

Speed playing greater role in state’s fatal crashes than alcohol

Dover – Starting today and continuing for the next four months, Delaware Office of Highway Safety (OHS) and law enforcement officials are turning up the HEAT on speeding drivers.  Together they’re launching phase two of the 2009 Stop Aggressive Driving campaign with a continued focus on speed violations.  Phase one of the safety initiative occurred in April and resulted in Delaware State Police Troopers issuing 1,298 speed citations.

“Our message is “Stop Speeding Before It Stops You!” said Tricia Roberts, Director of the Office of Highway Safety.  “Speed is currently a greater factor in Delaware’s fatal motor vehicle crashes than alcohol, and it is killing our citizens.”  The very first fatal crash of 2009 involved a driver, who according to State Police crash reports, was traveling at a high rate of speed, lost control and slammed into a railroad crossing sign.  To date, speed has been a predominant contributing factor in 30% of the state’s 44 fatal crashes, 10% higher than at this time last year.  Alcohol is currently a factor in 25% of the state’s fatal crashes.

From now through October, OHS and law enforcement officials are implementing a combination of enforcement and public awareness strategies aimed at reducing speed-related crashes in the state.  Delaware State Police in all three counties, New Castle County Police and Dover Police will conduct either single or two-officer team patrols looking for speeders and other dangerous drivers such as those who run red lights or are impaired by drugs and or alcohol. Additionally, State Police will conduct four (4) multiple officer team operations.

Enforcement will be conducted on roadways where crash data analysis has revealed an above average number of speed-related crashes.  What may surprise some is an emphasis will be placed on secondary or rural roadways, which is where many of these speed-related crashes occur.  Some locations will include:  I-95, I-295, Rt. 7, Kirkwood Highway, and portions of Rt. 1 and Rt. 13 in New Castle County, Rt. 1 and Rt. 13 in Kent County as well as roads in downtown Dover, and portions of Rt. 1, 5, 9, 13 and 16 as well as other rural roadways in Sussex County.  Enforcement will be slightly heavier in New Castle County where 63% of the fatal crashes involving speed occurred in 2008.

Speeding drivers who are involved in crashes in the First State have been predominantly males between the ages of 16 and 27.  High crash involvement is seen among the 17 and 18 year olds in particular.  That’s why public awareness activities will include not only traditional means of advertising including t.v., radio and billboards, but also internet ads targeted to sites frequented by young adult males, and a mailing of speed materials to driver education materials in the fall to reach this desperately at-risk population.

The public can also take an active role this effort.  In 2007, OHS and DelDOT partnered to place 12 roadway signs in or near high crash locations statewide, encouraging motorists to call 911 to report aggressive and impaired drivers.

“We want to empower our citizens who are often frustrated by the aggressive driving they see around them, to believe they can be part of the solution and help make our roadways safer by calling 911 to report the dangerous drivers threatening their safety,” said Director Roberts.

Aggressive drivers are those who not only speed, but also tailgate, weave in and out of traffic, run red lights and stop signs and pull into traffic without giving others adequate room or time to maneuver.  When motorists see examples of these dangerous behaviors, they are being asked to call 911 when it’s safe to do so (or have a passenger call for them), and provide dispatchers with a description of the vehicle, a license plate number when possible and the vehicle’s direction of travel.  Alerts will then be sent to officers in the surrounding area to be on the lookout for the aggressive driver, make contact with him/her and cite that person for the offenses they observe.  Drivers should not call or email OHS to report aggressive drivers.

OHS officials say in addition to the possibility of losing your life, speeding will cost you money from citations, higher insurance costs from points on your license, and more money for gas.

Drivers ticketed for going 10 mph over the speed limit, will receive 4 points on their license and be fined $77.40 after court costs are assessed.  Fines and points increase from there putting your driving privileges at risk.

The Stop Aggressive Driving campaign is the third initiative in the 120 Days of Summer HEAT campaign, a summertime crackdown on traffic violators.  For more information about the Stop Aggressive Driving campaign and OHS’s other safety initiatives, please visit our website at www.ohs.delaware.gov or follow our updates on Twitter at www.twitter.com/DEHighwaySafe.

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