State police to lead safe-driving initiative this weekend

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The International Association of Chiefs of Police initiated the “Drive to Save Lives” campaign to reduce deaths on U.S. highways back in 2014.

The campaign targeted distracted and impaired driving, speeding, the use of seat belts and the unsafe driving behaviors of operators of large trucks and buses. A combination of education and awareness, partnering with other agencies and high-visibility traffic enforcement were used to achieve the campaign goals.

It was those successful efforts that gave the IACP a desire to continue the campaign annually.

The Delaware State Police have coordinated the “Drive to Save Lives” efforts at least once a year, specifically on Delaware’s portion of I-95, and this year’s campaign is set to take place Friday and Saturday. Working alongside DSP are 14 other participating state police and highway patrol agencies that monitor portions of I-95.

“The Delaware State Police are proud to partner with our allied agencies around the state in the 2021 ‘Drive to Save Lives’ campaign,” said Col. Melessa Zebley, superintendent of DSP. “While utilizing education and proactive enforcement strategies, troopers will engage motorists each day with the intention to enhance driver safety and reduce fatal and serious injury collisions.

“Along with our highway-safety partners, we are dedicated to this nationwide effort and to our shared goals of keeping Delawareans and our visitors safe.”

Over the past four years, DSP has taken its campaign coordination efforts a step further. In 2017, DSP began requesting other Delaware law enforcement agencies with patrol-related duties to be included in the campaign.

As a result, numerous agencies throughout the state have been participating in this campaign. This year is proving to become the greatest teamwork effort, with at least 30 Delaware municipal agencies slated to participate.

Delaware’s Office of Highway Safety has continued to be a supporter of the “Drive to Save Lives” campaign. With the OHS’ assistance, Delaware’s participating law enforcement agencies are better able to supply personnel for these high-visibility patrols.

“The Delaware Office of Highway Safety is pleased to support the Delaware State Police and municipal agencies from across the state in the ‘Drive to Save Lives’ initiative,” said Sarah Cattie, traffic-safety program manager for the OHS. “This is an opportunity for Delaware to participate in a nationwide event, focusing on multiple highway-safety priorities, using data-driven enforcement methods and education to decrease the high-risk behaviors of drivers.

“These partners are committed to decreasing fatalities and serious injuries on our roadways, and it’s initiatives like this that can help us achieve that goal.” DSP will be coordinating the I-95 effort, as well as the portion of the campaign that extends to other roadways throughout the state. DSP will be patrolling the state’s main corridors, while the municipal agencies will be patrolling their specific jurisdictions.

The team of agencies will be highly motivated to perform traffic stops, educate operators and issue citations. The goal is to provide education and enforcement that will lead to a decrease in the number of crashes throughout Delaware.