Guest Commentary: It’s a team effort to make Delaware’s roads safer


Nicole Majeski is the secretary of the Delaware Department of Transportation. Nathaniel McQueen Jr. is the secretary of the Delaware Department of Safety and Homeland Security.

A crash happens on Delaware roads every 23 minutes.

Last year, 165 individuals — mothers, fathers, daughters, sons, brothers, sisters, family members, friends — were killed on our roadways.

This tied for the deadliest year on record, set in 1988.

That’s 165 fatalities. Victims ranged in age from 5 to 104. Precious lives lost due to crashes that could have been avoided.

This is not just a one-year anomaly. The number of roadway fatalities and serious-injury crashes continues to increase each year. This is not a problem unique to Delaware. Last year, there were nearly 43,000 people killed in crashes across the U.S., a 16-year high.

To put that into context, the home of the Philadelphia Phillies — Citizens Bank Park — has a capacity of 43,035. Think of the pictures of a sold-out Phillies home playoff game this past fall. The number of people in the stadium equals the number of people killed in a single year on roads across the country.

We can work together to stop these crashes.

Speeding, distracted driving and impairment are just some of the factors leading to these crashes.

Safety is our top priority — safety of the traveling public and our workforce — regardless of the mode of transportation you are using.

The Delaware Department of Transportation is investing hundreds of millions of dollars in safety projects each year across the state. The Delaware State Police and law enforcement throughout our state are increasing enforcement, and the Office of Highway Safety is expanding our education and outreach efforts by working with our advocates.

We are grateful to Gov. John Carney and members of the General Assembly for introducing a package of traffic safety legislation that will make our roads safer and save lives. The proposed legislation will:

  • Establish speeding violations of 90 mph or more as reckless driving.
  • Require all riders to wear a helmet in their first two years of having a motorcycle endorsement.
  • Ban open containers in passenger vehicles subject to a civil penalty.
  • Require drivers to change lanes or reduce their speed while approaching stationary vehicles with lights or flares.
  • Allow state-owned and -operated snowplows to use a revolving or flashing green light.
  • Expand child safety seat requirements.

Whether it is through engineering, enforcement, education or strengthening our safety laws, we have a responsibility to do everything we can to save lives. And it takes all of us, as more than 40 people have already died on our roads this year.

It is also important to recognize that we can only be successful if we have the cooperation and support of the motoring public. Everyone has a role to play in ensuring that we all have equal access to safe roadways.

There are steps that every motorist, pedestrian or roadway user can take to combat these fatal crashes. Slow down, wear your seat belts, walk and drive sober, avoid distractions when driving or walking, and secure your children in an appropriate car seat.

We will continue to meet current challenges and mitigate new ones to achieve our goal of reducing traffic fatalities, and we remain committed to addressing these challenges for all of Delaware’s road users.

To learn more about the state of Delaware’s efforts around traffic safety, visit

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