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What Are Delaware's Distracted Driving Laws?

Woman texting on her phone while driving.

Distracted drivers often cause serious car accidents that result in severe injuries or fatalities. That’s why the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has declared as April National Distracted Driving Awareness Month.

In addition, many states are doing their part this month to educate drivers about the dangers of distracted driving, including texting while driving and other activities that divert a driver’s attention away from the road. One of those states is Delaware.

Sharon Bryson, director of the Delaware Office of Highway Safety, said in a recent statement, “Distracted driving poses a significant threat and can cause severe consequences. It’s important to prioritize safety by avoiding the urge to check your phone or respond to a text while driving. Too many lives have been lost due to distractions, and both motorists and pedestrians must remain fully alert and focused while using our roadways and sidewalks.”

How bad is distracted driving in Delaware?

The short answer? Worse than ever. Drivers in Delaware cause thousands of accidents each year due to being distracted. Between 2019 and 2023, distracted drivers in Delaware caused 9,569 accidents that resulted in 174 injuries and 22 fatalities, according to the recent Distracted Driving Awareness Month announcement issued by the Delaware Office of Highway Safety.

According to the same announcement, 29 percent of car accidents in Delaware this year have occurred due to driver inattention, distraction, or fatigue. The announcement also noted that distracted driving is more common among drivers ages 20-24 and 35-44.

What is Delaware doing to prevent distracted driving accidents?

This month, the Delaware Office of Highway Safety is working with state and local law enforcement agencies to inform the public about the dangers of distracted driving.

This means that drivers in Delaware can expect to be stopped by state or local police if they are texting while driving or engaging in other dangerous driving activities. Drivers might receive a warning, or police could ticket them as part of the state’s increased distracted driving enforcement effort.

What are Delaware’s distracted driving laws?

Delaware has several strict laws designed to prevent distracted driving. The state’s two best-known distracted driving laws both involve cell phones. In Delaware, drivers cannot text or use a hand-held cell phone while driving. Instead, drivers must use a hands-free operating system.

Delaware’s hands-free cell phone law went into effect in 2011. In addition, Delaware was the 30th state nationwide to ban texting while driving.

Delaware also has several other distracted driving laws. According to the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), Delware's other distracted driving laws include:

  • School bus drivers cannot use a cell phone while driving.
  • Drivers with a learner’s permit cannot use a cell phone while driving at any time.

Why should I hire a distracted driving accident attorney after a crash?

Injury claims involving distracted driving accidents might seem straightforward at first. After all, if another driver was texting or broke another traffic law in Delaware, you should automatically be compensated for your medical bills and other accident-related expenses, right? Don’t be so sure. In many cases, distracted driving accident claims quickly turn into complex legal battles.

Unfortunately, insurance companies often try to minimize payouts or deny claims altogether, especially in cases involving distracted driving. They may dispute liability or downplay the extent of your injuries to reduce their financial responsibility. That's why having a skilled attorney on your side is essential. A lawyer can negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf, gather evidence to support your claim, and fight for the compensation you deserve.

At Gill, Welsh, and Chamberlain, P.A., we know how to handle complicated legal cases. We have years of experience representing people injured in crashes caused by negligent drivers and understand what it takes to get meaningful results for our clients.

Get a law firm that will stand up for your rights. Contact us today to schedule a free case evaluation.

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