January 4, 2011 - Delaware Gov. Jack Markell signed into law a bill banning the use of hand held cell phones, pagers, PDAs, blackberrys, laptops, games or portable computers while driving. Under the new law, which went into effect Jan. 2, drivers are not allowed to talk without using a hands-free device, read, write or send text messages, e-mail or use the Internet while operating a motor vehicle.
Drivers caught using a hand-held device will be fined $50, with subsequent penalties reaching $200.
Delaware is the 30th state in the nation to have a texting ban and the 8th to bans the use of hand-held cell phones. No state completely bans the use of cell phones altogether.
This law is a direct result of the increasing number of crashes and fatalities cause by cell phone and electronic device distractions. According to the Delaware State Police, in 2009, 230 crashes involved the use of a cell phone as a distraction. National research shows that drivers using cell phones are four times more likely to get into crashes serious enough to cause injury.
The Office of Highway Safety is in the process of developing a public awareness campaign to assist with public compliance with the new law, and ultimately to reduce the numbers of cell phone-related crashes and fatalities on Delaware roadways.