Gov. John Carney, joined by transportation officials and lawmakers June 30, signed a package of laws to improve safety on Delaware’s roadways.
The legislative package includes bills to curb speeding and reckless driving, expand “Move Over” protections, require helmets in the first two years of a motorcycle license, strengthen child safety seat requirements, and enable green lights on snowplows to increase visibility.
“It’s our responsibility to keep Delawareans safe,” said Carney in a press release. “This package of legislation, along with the current activities and protection measures, will save lives. Thank you to all the members of the General Assembly, the teams at the Departments of Transportation and Safety and Homeland Security, and advocates for their commitment to these pieces of legislation.”
As part of the legislative package, House Bill 120 establishes speeding violations of 90 mph or more as a reckless driving offense, subject to fines, traffic school, or community service picking up litter on the side of the road. Speeding was a contributor to 26 fatal crashes in Delaware from 2020-22, officials said.
House Bill 92, known as “Move Over” legislation, requires drivers to change lanes or reduce speed when approaching any stationary vehicle on the shoulder or in the roadway displaying warning signals. Warning signals may include vehicle hazard warning lights, road flares, traffic cones, caution signs or any nonvehicular warning signs. In 2022, 13 people were killed in Delaware while in or near stopped vehicles, officials said.
Senate Bill 86, led in part by Rep. Danny Short, R-Seaford, requires all riders to wear a helmet in their first two years of having a motorcycle endorsement. Statistics from DelDOT show that 25% of serious injury and fatal accidents among Delaware-licensed motorcycle riders occurred within their first two years of obtaining a license. Over the last five years, 35 motorcyclists were killed and 143 were seriously injured on Delaware roadways while not wearing helmets, officials said.
“As someone who has been on the scene of countless motorcycle accidents, and being an avid rider myself, I’ve witnessed the lifesaving benefits of wearing a helmet firsthand,” said Short in a press release. “This new law could easily be called the Delaware Funeral Reduction Act. I believe its enactment will prevent a lot of families from grieving over a preventable tragedy.”
Senate Bill 86 requires children under 2 and under 30 pounds to be in a rear-facing seat with a five-point harness, and those under 4 and under 40 pounds to be in either a front- or rear-facing seat with a five-point harness. From age 4-16, the bill requires use of a booster to the maximum height and weight limits, then use of a seatbelt. Enforcement will not take place until after a yearlong awareness campaign. This proposed revision to Delaware’s child safety seat requirements adds specificity to the law, which currently only requires an “appropriate” car seat or booster.
Senate Bill 89 allows state-owned and -operated snowplows to use a revolving or flashing green light for better exposure in snowy conditions. Flashing or revolving lights on vehicles must be authorized through legislation.
House Substitute 1 for House Bill 94 implements a five-year trial run of a system that will permit the use of automatic speed cameras in work zones and residential areas within municipalities.