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DelDOT is trying to reverse trend of more people dying in car crashes

Sophia Schmidt, Delaware Public Media

With more people dying in car crashes in Delaware’s, state officials are trying to find ways to make the roads safer.

According to DelDOT 136 people died on Delaware roads in 2021.

That’s the highest the state has had in 15 years according to DelDOT secretary Nicole Majeski.

So far this year, Delaware’s recorded 47 fatalities on its roadways - 16 more than the same time last year, or an increase of more than 50 percent.

While state crash statistics show impaired or distracted driving are some of the main factors in crashes, highway engineers are looking at ways to make roads safer.

DelDOT’s Mark Luszcz says making the roads safer is a two-way street.

"We're not dictators,” said Luszcz. “We're part of the executive branch of government. Ultimately we work for the people so if we don't have public support for something we can't do it. So there's been projects that we've thought we've had and we've done everything to show this is what the safety benefits are going to be and all these things and if the public doesn't buy it we can't do it."

Roundabouts have been used, the state currently has 29 with more on the way, and current and former DelDOT officials have suggested speed bumps or speed cameras, and designing thinner roads without paved shoulders.

Automated speed enforcement has worked to reduce speeding in other countries according to Luszcz, and he believes it would work in Delaware.

“If you had more automated enforcement, I think that would help us significantly slowing speeds down,” said Luszcz.

This story comes from Delaware independent – an email newsletter for southern Delaware. More reporting on it can be found at The Delaware Independent website.

Joe brings over 20 years of experience in news and radio to Delaware Public Media and the All Things Considered host position. He joined DPM in November 2019 as a reporter and fill-in ATC host after six years as a reporter and anchor at commercial radio stations in New Castle and Sussex Counties.