Press Release -- April 04, 2011
Distracted Driving In Delaware: An Illegal and Deadly Decision

DMV Unveils New Effort to Combat Distracted Driving

Dover -- We've all had the experience of driving down a road and seeing another driver texting on their cell phone, not paying attention to the cars around them. That sort of behavior places them, as well as other drivers, at risk of being involved in a serious or even deadly crash. It's a dangerous scenario and one that was the target of legislation that went into effect January 2, 2011. Today, the Delaware Department of Transportation's (DelDOT) Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) is launching the "No Phone Zone" pledge, a new initiative that reminds young drivers in Delaware that texting while driving and using cell phones without the use of a hands free device is illegal.

"We want to make sure our young drivers are safe on the road," said Governor Jack Markell. "We want them to be as healthy as they can for the opportunities ahead of them. This is one more way we can keep teens safe behind the wheel."

Participation in the program is free and easy. Drivers will simply sign and date the pledge form, which can be found at www.teendriving.dmv.de.gov or at any DMV facility. Once the form is completed, it can be turned in to any DMV office and will be scanned into the individual's driving record. As a visual reminder of the pledge that they've taken, the person will be given a thumb ring that reads "TXTNG KILLS."

"All across our country we have seen too many people, young and old, die because they or another driver were texting behind the wheel or unsafely using their cell phone," said DMV Director Jennifer Cohan. "Distracted driving is a problem that needs to be dealt with and the DMV is proud to be providing the 'No Phone Zone' pledge for Delaware's teen drivers who want to take a stand and prevent these senseless crashes."

The "No Phone Zone" pledge is a cooperative effort between the DMV and the Delaware Office of Highway Safety (OHS), which has been working to inform drivers who live in Delaware, or who are just passing through, about the new distracted driving laws in the state and the consequences that they carry. By using a variety of outreach tools, including their Web site, www.ohs.delaware.gov, OHS has been promoting safe driving through their "Phone Hands Free. Arrive Alive DE" campaign.

"We are proud to partner with DMV on this important initiative," said Jana Simpler, Director of the Office of Highway Safety. "State crash data clearly indicates that cell-phone use and texting contributes to crashes-in fact drivers using a hand-held cell phone are four times more likely to be involved in a crash. The 'No Phone Zone' pledge is an excellent tool for reminding motorists not to drive distracted."

Driver's education instructors in all of the state's 19 school districts have already been contacted about the new pledge. The main intention of the pledge is to get information about the dangers of distracted driving to Delaware's newest drivers. By working with driver's education instructors, the information will reach students before they ever get behind the wheel of a vehicle.

"We want to keep our students - and other drivers on the road with them - safe," Secretary of Education Lillian Lowery said. "This campaign complements what our driver's education teachers already are teaching about the importance of distraction-free driving."

This pledge is the latest component in the Delaware Does More for Teen Drivers Program, a program intended to give teen drivers in Delaware, and their parents or guardians, all of the tools that they need to safely enjoy their new found freedom in the driver's seat. For more information about the "No Phone Zone" pledge and other tools available for teen drivers, please visit www.teendriving.dmv.de.gov.