Since March 12, Delaware has been under the State of Emergency, and the public has been urged to remain at home and off the roadways. With fewer individuals traveling on Delaware roadways, the number of crashes and fatalities would be anticipated to have a significant decline, police said, but impairment-related crashes are up.
Although the number of crashes handled in February and March of 2020 is fewer than those months in 2019, the Delaware State Police said, the percentage of crashes involving impairment has increased. There has also been an increase this year in each category of fatal crashes except bicycle-related fatalities, they said.
Since Jan. 1, Delaware has had 23 fatal crashes resulting in 24 deaths. Of those 23 fatal crashes, two were motorcycle-related, and eight were pedestrian-related.
The Delaware State Police offered a number of safety tips this week to help keep the public safe when traveling on the state’s roadways during this unprecedented time. Whether they area a motorist, pedestrian, cyclist or motorcyclist, they said, people should avoid traveling while under the influence of any substance which alters their judgment negatively. Also, people should give their full time and attention to the roadway. Anyone operating a vehicle or motorcycle should obey the posted speed limits.
“Speed is the biggest determinant of serious injury and fatalities, especially for those who are most vulnerable like pedestrians and bicyclists as well as first responders, tow truck drivers, and construction and utility workers often on the shoulders of our roads,” said Ken Grant, Public & Government Affairs manager for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “Motorist reaction times — which is about 1 second for most drivers — don’t speed up just because they go faster.”
Anyone walking along the roadways should carry a flashlight, wear reflective clothing and walk on a sidewalk if available. Pedestrians were also reminded to cross in marked crosswalks, obey pedestrian signals, walk facing traffic and avoid walking in poorly lit areas whenever possible.
“The Delaware State Police continue to be dedicated to keeping Delaware’s roadways safe and the number of crashes and impaired drivers down. We will continue to stop, cite, and educate those who violate the law to prevent injuries and deaths.”
For additional safety tips and information regarding travel during COVID-19, visit https://midatlantic.aaa.com/coronavirus.