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A Closer Look at Traffic Accidents in Delaware

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November 8, 2023

Every year, the Delaware State Police publish an Annual Traffic Statistical Report which provides details about the accidents, drivers, vehicles, conditions, causes, and other relevant information from across the state for the preceding year. In this article, the Morris James car accident attorneys take a closer look at the traffic accident statistics for Delaware for 2022, and what we can learn from them.

If you have more questions about road accidents in Delaware or you have been involved in a Delaware road accident and need legal representation, contact Morris James car accident lawyers online or by calling 302.655.2599.

How many people were injured or killed on Delaware roads in 2022?

In Delaware in 2022, there were 27,830 traffic crashes resulting in 165 deaths and 7,887 injured victims. Twenty-six more people died than in the previous year, and the number of fatal crashes (134) was the highest it has been in 20 years.

Non-fatal injuries were also common. In 2022, one person was injured every 67 minutes in traffic crashes in Delaware. The leading cause of crashes that resulted in injuries was driver inattention, distraction, or fatigue. Perhaps surprisingly, speeding was not a major factor in Delaware accidents, with only 252 out of 27,830 accidents caused by speeding.

Are poor road and weather conditions a major factor in Delaware traffic accidents?

The majority of road accidents in 2022 happened in good driving conditions. Over 80% of accidents occurred on dry roads, and almost 75% of crashes happened in clear weather. While most accidents (60%+) happened during daylight hours, most fatal crashes happened in darkness where there were no lights.

When do most traffic accidents happen on Delaware roads?

More road accidents happen in Delaware in late fall and early winter (October through December) than at other times of the year. The most dangerous day of the week for driving in Delaware is Friday, with the highest number of both fatal and non-fatal accidents happening on a Friday in both 2021 and 2022. Most crashes in 2022 occurred during the day from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., while most fatal crashes happened later, between 8 p.m. and midnight. 

Alcohol is also a factor in the timing of accidents, and led Delaware State Place to issue a warning in the 2022 report that the most dangerous time to be on the road in Delaware is Saturday night through early Sunday morning (7 p.m. - 2 a.m.), when 61% of fatal crashes were alcohol-related.

How often are alcohol and drugs involved in traffic accidents in Delaware?

Alcohol and drugs are a contributor to traffic accidents, including fatal crashes, in Delaware. Over one-third of drivers killed on state roads in 2022 were under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Alcohol-related road accidents are most common between 8 p.m. and midnight, and more likely to happen on the weekend. (Over 60% of all alcohol-related crashes occurred on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday.) Males were more likely than females to be involved in accidents involving alcohol or drugs.

Drunk drivers are not the only problem. Pedestrians who were under the influence of drugs or alcohol were also injured and killed in traffic accidents. Of the 32 pedestrians who died, 15 (or 47%) were under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the accident.

What type of vehicles are more likely to be involved in traffic accidents in Delaware?

Passenger cars are involved in more accidents in Delaware than other types of vehicles. Almost 50% of all accidents involved passenger cars. Following that, the most common type of vehicle involved in an accident was the S.U.V, then the pickup truck.

167 school buses were involved in road accidents in Delaware in 2022, resulting in 49 injuries. 27 of those injured were occupants of the school bus. Fortunately, no one was killed in a school bus accident in Delaware in 2022.

Are motorcycles involved in a lot of accidents in Delaware?

Only 365 of the 27,830 traffic accidents in Delaware in 2022 involved a motorcycle, but the number of motorcycle accidents has been steadily increasing since 2018. Although the total number of motorcycle accidents is low, motorcyclists are more likely than other road users to be killed on the roads. 19 people were killed in motorcycle accidents in Delaware in 2022, and the death rate for motorcyclists is 9.37 per 10,000 vehicle registrations compared to a death rate of 1.69 for all vehicles registered.

Are Delaware roads dangerous for cyclists?

140 people were injured in accidents involving bicycles in Delaware in 2022. 14% of these people were children under the age of 15 years old, though the majority of people injured in bicycle accidents were aged 35 - 64 years old. Fortunately, no children were killed in bicycle accidents in Delaware in 2022, but there was an increase in cyclists’ deaths overall from the previous year - 2 bicyclists died in crashes in Delaware in 2021, while 7 bicyclists were killed in 2022. 

Do more accidents happen during holidays?

Many people link New Year’s Eve with a higher risk of road accidents, especially drunk driving accidents. However, the number of accidents is actually not highest on New Year’s Eve. Typically in Delaware, Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, and Thanksgiving are the three holidays with the highest number of road accidents. In 2022, the Fourth of July had the highest number of accidents, with 385 crashes happening over the holiday weekend.

Do many traffic accidents in Delaware involve out-of-state drivers?

While it is common to blame out-of-state drivers for bad driving, the majority of car accidents in Delaware involved drivers who were Delaware residents. 34,529 or 73.1% of drivers involved in crashes were Delaware residents. 

Sometimes we make assumptions about road accidents that are proven incorrect when we look at all the facts. Perhaps we mistakenly think that a lot of accidents are caused by motorcyclists or out-of-state drivers, or that speeding and drunk driving cause most accidents. This report shows us that accidents can happen to anyone at any time, and the majority of accidents actually involve cars driven by inattentive or distracted drivers. One out of every 23 licensed drivers in Delaware was involved in a traffic crash in 2022. If you are involved in a car accident, it is important that you know what to do and who to call for help

At Morris James, our attorneys have been standing up for victims since we opened our doors in 1932. If you have questions about car accidents in Delaware, you may find answers in our Car Accident FAQs, or you can contact us online or call us at 302.655.2599 to speak to one of our experienced car accident attorneys.

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