Despite social distancing and avoiding large crowds, many people in Delaware still found ways to celebrate the holidays. The Delaware Office of Highway Safety launched the Safe Family Holiday annual campaign early in December. Their message was “Just Focus on Driving.”
Safety authorities noted that the combination of impairment, speed and winter road conditions are life-threatening. The OHS collaborated with restaurants this year to prevent impaired driving, which police say remains the most significant concern. Based on 2019 statistics, the following became their principal focus:
- Impaired driving and DUI: Impaired drivers caused 28 deaths, and 4,188 arrests were made.
- Speeding: Excessive speed caused 43 deaths, approximately one-third of all accident fatalities.
- Distracted driving: OHS says distractions are more likely than alcohol to cause accidents.
- Pedestrian safety: Traffic crashes killed 33 pedestrians.
- Failure to buckle up: A significant percentage of crash-related deaths involved vehicle occupants who were not wearing seat belts.
Drivers were asked to make their phone calls and send texts before they get behind the wheel, or pull off in a safe area to use a cellphone while on the road. Furthermore, wearing seat belts and using dedicated drivers or ride services after consuming alcohol or drugs could prevent accidents. Also, drivers should note that pedestrians are out despite the winter weather.
Unfortunately, even though most Delaware residents drive safely, it takes only one negligent driver to cause deaths and severe injuries. Any victims of such accidents will likely have to deal with mounting medical bills, lost wages and other monetary damages. They may have grounds to file personal injury claims through the civil justice system. The surviving family members of deceased crash victims could pursue damage recovery by filing wrongful death lawsuits.