National Distracted Driving Awareness Month

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The Drive to Save Lives Distracted Driving Awareness Month goal is to achieve increased highly visible traffic enforcement across the approximate 96 miles of the State of Delaware. This initiative will be a contributing effort to support the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) initiative, The Drive to Save Lives Campaign and its goal to reduce traffic deaths and injuries across the U.S. The emphasis of this initiative will be to change the high-risk behaviors of motorists, such as distracted driving, impaired driving, speeding, unsafe driving behaviors of the operators of large trucks and buses and the failure of motorists and passengers alike to wear seatbelts.

In 2014 the IACP initiated an effort to significantly reduce the more than 33,000 highway deaths, which occurred annually on U.S. roadways. The state police and highway patrol leaders from IACP Division of State and Provincial Police have led a sustained data-driven effort since 2014. It focused on and targeted distracted and impaired driving, speeding, the use of seatbelts, along with unsafe driving behaviors of the operators of large trucks/buses. The IACP leaders’ goal was to change the high-risk behaviors of motorists in order to decrease the number of crashes through “education and awareness, partnerships, and high-visibility traffic enforcement”. The IACP leaders initiated the effort in 2014 and declared it should be an ongoing effort to prevent the many deaths that occur on our roadways each year.

According to NHTSA, 2015 marked the largest increase in traffic fatalities since 1966. Also, the first half of 2016 revealed a similar pattern of increase. Distracted Driving fatalities increased 8.8% in 2015 and distracted driving is believed to be responsible for 10% of all fatal crashes.

With the first six months of 2016 showing an increase in fatal crashes compared to the first six months of 2015, National Distracted Driving Awareness Month proved to be an appropriate time for this initiative. Per NHTSA, one person every 53 minutes dies in an alcohol-related vehicle crash. Although alcohol-related fatals have decreased over the past few decades, the chance of being involved in an alcohol-related crash is still one in three within a lifetime. Nearly 27.5 million vehicle occupants still do not buckle up even though seatbelt use in passenger vehicles saved approximately 13,941 lives in 2015. Speeding endangers the driver and all others. In 2014 9,262 people were killed, due to speed.

The Drive to Save Lives Distracted Driving Awareness Month is a multi-jurisdictional, high-visibility traffic enforcement initiative that is meant to increase traffic enforcement presence and efforts across the State of Delaware from Saturday, April 8th through Sunday, April 9th, 2017. Delaware State Police will perform the administrative duties for this initiative by coordinating the efforts of the other Delaware law enforcement agencies in order to increase the totality of law enforcement presence across Delaware over the 48-hour period. This initiative will include the goal of having no fatalities within Delaware during the weekend.

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