The Delaware Office of Highway Safety and Delaware law enforcement agencies are encouraging motorists to focus on driving and eliminate the use of hand-held cellphones to engage in texting and other distracting behaviors while driving.

Over a four year period 2012-16, March was found to be the highest month in terms of cell phone related crashes in Delaware.

From March 2-19, law enforcement conduct additional enforcement with the goal of focusing their efforts on distracted drivers. Other traffic safety violations will be addressed as observed.

Delaware's cell phone law is a primary offense. This law bans the use of any hand-held device while operating a vehicle. Hands-free technology is allowed to use a cellphone to talk while driving. If a police officer observes a driver using a handheld device while driving, they can stop the driver for the violation and cite them $100 (plus court costs) for a first offense. For a second offense, penalties can increase to $300.

Delaware OHS offers these statistics:

— A four-year analysis of Delaware crash data, 2012-2016, reveals 55 percent of all cellphone-related crashes are caused by drivers younger than 30.

— For those younger than 30, 60 percent of the crashes are caused by male drivers.

— 77 percent of all cellphone related crashes occur between 5 and 6 p.m.

— New Castle County accounts for 62 percent of all cellphone related crashes; Kent County accounts for 17 percent of all cellphone related crashes; and Sussex County accounts for 21 percent of all cell phone related crashes.

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