The first of several state-wide crackdowns on distracted driving kicked off on Monday when the Delaware State Police ticketed 49 drivers in a sweep along Concord Pike in North Wilmington.
This enforcement initiative occurred during the mid-afternoon along the U.S. 202 corridor in the area of Silverside Road and involved uniformed Troopers in fully-marked patrol vehicles as well as plainclothes Troopers, who were operating unconventional vehicles.
The team of plainclothes Troopers manned vehicles such as work vans and pick-up trucks, which were utilized as mobile observation platforms in order to identify motorists who were texting/talking 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 the four hour initiative, four dozen vehicles were stopped, all of which were for distracted driving violations.
The Delaware State Police and the Delaware Office of Highway Safety (OHS) maintain that distracted driving caused by the use of personal electronic devices is an ever-growing problem. Through enforcement and educational initiatives, they want to send the message that texting/talking while driving is not only illegal but can be deadly.
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.
Delaware State Police and OHS say this week’s campaign is just the first of several planned enforcement initiatives across the state.