FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Over the next several weeks, the Dover Police Department will be increasing its focus on distracted drivers in the City of Dover. Since January of 2011, it has been illegal to use cellphones while driving unless a hands-free device is being used. Despite numerous campaigns, advertisements, and enforcement efforts; the department is still seeing drivers on their phones talking or texting while driving on our roadways. This not only creates a dangerous situation for the driver and their passengers, but every person around them on our roadways. For the 1st time, Dover Police will use teams of officers to help spot cell phone violations using the following law:
Title 21, Section 701(a)(4):
(4) For violations of § 4176C(a) of this title relating to electronic communication devices, when the violation is determined by personal observation by another law-enforcement officer who communicates the information to the arresting officer by radio or other telecommunications device, provided that the arresting officer is working in conjunction with the observing officer, the arresting officer is immediately advised of the violation and the vehicle being apprehended is the vehicle detected
Facts and Statistics
- In 2013, there were 146 crashes attributed to distracted driving in Delaware, with 54 of those causing injuries, and 3 fatalities. Through last week, there were 109 crashes with 56 injuries and no fatalities.
- The number of people killed in distraction-affected crashes decreased slightly from 3,360 in 2011 to 3,328 in 2012. An estimated 421,000 people were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving a distracted driver, this was a nine percent increase from the estimated 387,000 people injured in 2011.
- As of December 2012, 171.3 billion text messages were sent in the US (includes PR, the Territories, and Guam) every month. (CTIA)
- 10% of all drivers under the age of 20 involved in fatal crashes were reported as distracted at the time of the crash. This age group has the largest proportion of drivers who were distracted.
- Drivers in their 20s make up 27 percent of the distracted drivers in fatal crashes. (NHTSA)
- Engaging in visual-manual subtasks (such as reaching for a phone, dialing and texting) associated with the use of hand-held phones and other portable devices increased the risk of getting into a crash by three times. (VTTI)
- Five seconds is the average time your eyes are off the road while texting. When traveling at 55mph, that’s enough time to cover the length of a football field blindfolded. (2009, VTTI)
- A quarter of teens respond to a text message once or more every time they drive. 20 percent of teens and 10 percent of parents admit that they have extended, multi-message text conversations while driving. (UMTRI)
For more information, please visit: www.distraction.gov
Social Media Promotion
With over 9,000 followers across the department’s social media platforms, the department will heavily promote distracted driving marketing materials using Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and our mobile app. The department encourages local media, businesses, and users to share the material under the hashtag #PutItDown to spread awareness over the next several weeks. Together, we can make a difference, prevent accidents, and save lives.
The Dover Police Department strongly urges drivers to Put It Down and end distracted driving in the City of Dover. Not only will it prevent accidents and save lives, but it will also save you money. The final cost of a cell phone violation is over $100.00, higher than most people’s monthly cellphone bill. Your conversation is not worth your life, the life of others, or the $100+ fine you will receive.
The Dover Police Department would like to thank Alison Kirk, of the Delaware Department of Highway Safety for providing marketing materials and updated statistics
-Cpl. Mark Hoffman, Public Information Officer (302)-736-7130