Traffic fatalities have increased nearly 50 percent since last year prompting Delaware safety officials to urge caution.
Recent crashes should serve as a reminder to everyone to slow down, buckle up and don't drive impaired, wrote Jana Simpler, director for the Delaware Office of Highway Safety, in a letter to the editor.
Simpler was referring to four accidents occurring over the weekend April 11-13 in which six people died. An accident in Kent County claimed the life of a popular Milford principal and her 10-year-old daughter.
Other accidents included a scooter near Gumboro and an April 18 accident when a 59-year-old Maryland woman was killed while driving near Millsboro.
The circumstances surrounding the latest crash are unknown, however, Master Cpl. Gary Fournier said speed and alcohol were contributing factors for a couple of the accidents.
Fournier said drivers should remember to buckle up, be aware of weather and road conditions and never drink and drive – use a designated driver instead. Even one drink can affect motor skills, delayed reaction or blurred vision, Simpler said.
Distractions such as cell phones can delay reaction time by 20 percent, and driving drowsy increases the risk of a crash, she said.
“At highway speeds, one or two seconds of inattention can lead to disaster,” Simpler said.
The number of people killed on Delaware roads since Jan. 1 is 31, 48 percent higher than the 21 during this time last year, according to state records.
In an effort to achieve safer roadways, OHS will hold several enforcement campaigns throughout the summer to ticket speeders, issue violations for lack of occupant protection or impaired driving and enforce motorcycle and pedestrian laws.
Enforcement patrols will target motorcycles April 21 through May 2, June 23-28, July 7-12, Aug. 4-9 and Sept. 11-15; speeding on May 1-10, Aug. 7-9 and Sept. 2-13; pedestrians on May 8-16, June 12-27, July 10-25, Aug. 7-29 and Sept. 4-13; seatbelts on May 12-26, June 6-19 and July 18-31; and impaired driving May 23-26; July 18-Aug. 2; July 25-Aug. 2; and Aug. 15-Sept. 1.
“As we head into summer we will see an increase in traffic with families traveling for vacations and holidays. We cannot stress enough how important it is to be cautious every moment you are behind the wheel,” Simpler said. “Please slow down, take your time, limit your distractions, and never drive after drinking.”