Traffic Deaths Up in 2012

Jan 16, 2013 -- 11:37am

More people died in traffic accidents in Delaware in 2012 than in 2011.

116 people were killed in 110 fatal crashes in Delaware last year, according to the Office Highway Safety. That's an increase of more than 12 percent from 2011, which saw 103 traffic deaths. Pedestrians and bicyclists saw the biggest jump in traffic deaths. Last year, 30 pedestrians and four bicyclists were killed in crashes with vehicles, compared to 19 pedestrians and no cyclists in 2011.

Alison Kirk of the Office of Highway Safety says there are many factors that may have contributed to the increase in fatal crashes last year. However, she says the office has seen an increase in the number of crashes where aggressive driving (speeding, tailgating, running red lights and stop signs, etc.) has played a factor. She says drivers can do a number of things to make Delaware's roads safer, and some of them are very simple. Kirk says by simply following the speed limit and exercising more patience on the road can go a long way to prevent crashes. She says with more people driving more miles on the roads, there are going to be more crashes.

New Year's Eve marked the end of the Checkpoint Strikeforce and Safe Family Holiday campaigns. This year, police made 4,922 DUI arrests in Delaware, up 16 percent from the 4,230 DUI arrests in 2011. Of the 116 people who were killed in traffic accidents in 2012, 46 percent of them were killed in drunk-driving crashes. During the Safe Family Holiday campaign, five people were killed and 57 were injured in DUI crashes during the 2012 holiday season.

With the matchup for Super Bowl 47 set to be decided with the NFL conference championships on Sunday, many Ravens fans in Delaware have been particularly excited about the playoffs, and have been going out to their favorite establishments to watch the games. 22 police agencies have been conducting DUI saturation patrols since the playoffs started, and that will continue through this weekend and Super Bowl weekend (Feb. 1-3). Fans are being reminded to use a sober designated driver for their football-watching festivities.

Following the Super Bowl, police and the OHS will be focusing on night time seatbelt enforcement, motorcycle enforcement, and more DUI enforcement for St. Patrick's Day weekend (March 15-17).

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