Delaware Office of Highway Safety
The Delaware Office of Highway Safety (OHS) is asking drivers “Are You That Guy?” as they launch the agency’s aggressive driving campaign for 2012. The agency is building upon the already successful “Respect the Sign” aggressive driving campaign and again highlighting the traffic signs drivers are more likely to ignore such as stop signs, speed limit signs, and yield signs. The campaign will include high-visibility enforcement and awareness initiatives aimed at reducing aggressive driving-related traffic deaths.
OHS will conduct with four 2-week mini waves of enforcement beginning April 30th and ending in August. Enforcement will be accompanied by outreach efforts focused on reducing the top four aggressive driving behaviors that cause crashes: speeding, failure to yield the right of way (not waiting for other drivers), driving left of center (unsafe lane changing) and stop sign violations.
Since January 1st of this year there have been 27 fatal crashes in Delaware, 11 of which were caused by aggressive driving behaviors. Just this month, 7 individuals were killed in a crash caused by either speeding or failure to grant the right of way. In 2011, of the State’s 97 fatal crashes, 37% (37 crashes) were attributed to aggressive driving behaviors. Of these 37 fatal crashes, a driver’s failure to grant the right of way caused 9 crashes, and speeding caused 11 crashes.
“If you are confronted by an aggressive driver, safely move out of their way, do not challenge them or make threating gestures,” said Jana Simpler, Director of OHS. “Once you are in a safe location away from ‘That Guy’, report the driver to 9-1-1 and give the vehicle & driver description, direction of travel and license plate number if you can. Aggressive driving is dangerous and can lead to serious injury and sometimes deadly consequences.”
Public outreach and education activities along high visibility enforcement will continue to be the cornerstone of this year’s new campaign efforts. A new website www.AggressivedrivingDE.com was created where individuals can take a quiz to find out what type of driver they are, learn about the violations & penalties for aggressive driving, and how to deal with ‘that guy’ if they encounter one on the road. Life sized traffic signs with ‘that guy’ excuse for ignoring the sign, will also be placed at select partnering locations through the state including Grottos, University of Delaware, and California Tortilla. OHS is also partnering with Lynam & Catts beach service to place floatable key chains on beach chairs for patrons to keep as a reminder to check and see if they are ‘that guy’.
Delaware State Police in all three counties, along with the New Castle County, Dover, Milford and Wilmington Police agencies will be conducting aggressive driving patrols during the 4 waves of enforcement. Police are being asked to focus on the top four aggressive driving violations in the State of Delaware with the primary focus on drivers who fail to grant the right of way to other drivers. Failure to grant the right of way violations include drivers who turn left in front of another vehicle, pull out in front of other vehicles at stop signs and fail to merge safely. It is also the primary contributing factor in aggressive driving related fatal and injury crashes.
New paid media messaging focusing on aggressive driving behaviors have been developed and will be incorporated throughout the 4 waves of enforcement including cable tv, billboards, print, online advertising, posters, fliers, and table tents.
Individuals who are stopped under Delaware’s aggressive driving law can be charged both with aggressive driving and charged for each individual traffic offense. Penalties include fines between $100 – $300 for a first offense, possible jail time, and mandatory attendance at an 8-hour behavior modification course. Subsequent convictions will result in the loss of driving privileges for one month. The 2011 “Respect The Sign” campaign resulted in 4,698 citations being issued for aggressive driving behaviors and 36 individuals arrested for Aggressive Driving.
For more information on Respect The Sign campaign or any of the other OHS campaigns visit www.ohs.delaware.gov, find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ArriveAliveDE, or follow us on Twitter @DEHighwaySafe.