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Politics & Government

Delaware Office of Highway Safety kicks off Safe Holiday campaign

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The Delaware Office of Highway Safety (OHS) is taking a slightly different approach to this year’s Safe Holiday campaign.";

The Delaware Office of Highway Safety (OHS) wants motorists to be safe this holiday season.

Highway Safety’s annual Safe Holiday campaign to reduce vehicle crashes across the First State over the Christmas holiday is underway.

“Basically we want to make sure that families and friends and everyone who is on area roads is going to get home safe for the holiday reason, which is traditionally unfortunately is a very tragic time - not just only in Delaware - but across the nation,” said Highway Safety Office spokesperson Cindy Cavett.

She says  state and local police are already making a concentrated effort to enforce Delaware’s DUI, seat belt, speeding, pedestrian and hands-free cell phone laws.

She notes that the goal is to push down some troubling statistics.

Last year, there were 26 crash-related deaths due to impaired driving; 4,188 motorists were arrested. Speed was involved in 43 vehicle fatalities in 2019 and 33 pedestrians were killed last year in traffic crashes on First State roads.

Cavett says speeding and distracted driving remain the two leading causes of crashes in Delaware.

While the increase in crashes and associated injuries and deaths over the holidays is always an area of concern for OHS - Cavett says the COVID-19 pandemic introduced a unique set of dynamics that could make this year more dangerous for drivers and pedestrians.

“There have been a number of instances where there have been traffic backups during some of the COVID testing sites in the area of pharmacies and/or hospitals that are conducting those sites," said Cavett. "And I would just like to encourage everyone to exercise some patience, especially during the holiday season.”

Cavett notes there have not been any pedestrians or motorists hurt surrounding these coronavirus testing sites but “caution” is stressed.

She also points out other pandemic dynamics have the potential to contribute significantly to unsafe roads.  They include takeaway alcoholic beverage purchases and more speeding due to decreased traffic as many work from home.

OHS says 37-percent of all 2019 distracted driving crashes in Delaware occurred during the afternoon rush hour.

Cavett says motorists who text while driving are six times more likely to cause a crash than a driver under the influence of alcohol.