The Delaware State Policeand the Delaware Office of Highway Safety (OHS) have joined forcesto address the issue of distracted drivingby conductinga series of statewide enforcement initiatives, the first of which took place Monday along Concord Pike in north Wilmington.
This enforcement initiativeoccurred during themid-afternoon along the Route 202 corridor in the area of Silverside Road andinvolved uniformed troopers in fully marked patrol vehicles, who worked in conjunction withplainclothes troopers, who were operating unconventional vehicles.A team of plainclothes troopers manned vehicles such as work vans, and pick-up trucks, which were used as mobile observation platforms that could 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 driver, along with a detailed description of the illegal activity. The vehicle was then stopped. During the four hour initiative a total of 49 vehicles were stopped, all for distracted driving violations.
In a release, Delaware State Police and the DelawareOffice of Highway Safety stated that distracted driving caused by the use of personal electronic devices is a growing problem. They hope that through enforcement initiatives and educational opportunities, the message that texting while driving can be deadly will be heard, the release added.
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 moving 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 release stated.