Captain Sherri L. Benson
With an overall mission to reduce motor vehicle collisions, the Traffic Operations Section (TOS) performs an array of diverse functions. Led by Captain Sherri Benson, section personnel coordinate Divisional traffic enforcement while conducting statewide recordkeeping. The section also provides proactive and reactive enforcement via our Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Unit (CVEU). That unit staffs two commercial vehicle weigh facilities, one at Blackbird and on Rt. 301 in lower New Castle County. Additional enhancements to roadway safety are carried out via the Electronic Red Light Safety Program (ERLSP).
Fatal crashes in Delaware resulted in the deaths of 125 people in 111 crashes (27 involved pedestrians) in 2014. Delaware State Troopers investigated 86% of all fatalities. Excessive speed and DUI was the number one cause of death, while inattentive driving caused the majority of personal injury and property damage collisions. In an effort to reduce this needless suffering, the Delaware State Police participated in numerous traffic enforcement campaigns, most of which were funded through Delaware’s Office of Highway Safety. Additionally, the TOS specifically targeted crash producing behaviors via quarterly traffic action plans. All eight patrol troops implemented their quarterly action plan based on collision trends, dangerous driving behavior, and citizen complaints, specific to each troop’s area of responsibility. Police presence was notably increased on targeted highways through the Drive to Zero, the High Five Traffic, and Columbus Day Weekend Initiatives. The OHS also assisted with DUI, Aggressive Driving, Child Restraint, Pedestrian, and Seatbelt violation enforcement funding. These initiatives focused on holidays, summer months, and special events, such as Superbowl Sunday. In 2014, in an effort to reduce crashes and reign in hazardous driving behaviors, Delaware Troopers took the following enforcement actions:
2014 Divisional Traffic Enforcement Activites
Total Traffic Arrests: 128,564
Aggressive Driving-Related: 57,295
Primary Seatbelt: 3,283
Seatbelt Assessments: 5,715
Child Restraint: 526
Hand Held Cell Phone: 3633
Inattentive driving: 3,600
Additionally, 23,652 red light violation assessments were issued via the ERLSP.
Administrative personnel, working out of the DSP HQ complex in Dover, fulfill several duties and responsibilities. Among them is the development of traffic initiatives, programs, and campaigns to promote increased police presence and enforcement on Delaware roadways. This is accomplished using a range of analytical tools, including the Fatal Analysis Report System (FARS) and the Divisional Statistician. Recently, the section has begun utilizing Omega Crime View to more accurately identify and isolate problem traffic areas throughout the state. In addition, the section coordinates data-driven targeted enforcement in each Troop’s jurisdiction at monthly Traffic Lieutenants’ meetings. Collection, archiving, and dissemination of motor vehicle collision reports is another responsibility. In 2014, section personnel processed 14,314 collision reports and fulfilled 13,260 requests for collision report copies from the public, attorneys, insurance companies, and others. Additionally, the Traffic Section oversees training and supervision of the Division’s Coban Mobile Digital Recorders (in-car cameras). This included more than 3,500 recordings related to DUI, Traffic Stops, Drug, and Criminal Investigations. The Traffic Section also provides copies of all DUI recordings to the appropriate prosecutors and troopers.
Commercial vehicle safety is the mission of the TOS’s Truck Enforcement Unit (TEU) and the Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program (MCSAP). TEU personnel are primarily responsible for the operation of the Blackbird and RT 301 weigh facilities. They also utilize portable scales to conduct commercial vehicle weight checks and ensure size regulation adherence throughout the state. MCSAP personnel conduct inspections of commercial vehicles and their operators at various locations throughout the state and at the Division’s two weigh facilities.
2014 TEU & MCSAP Activities
Commercial Motor Vehicle Inspections: 5,802
Weighing Of Commercial Motor Vehicles: 43,323
Drivers Placed Out Of Service: 324
Vehicles Placed Out Of Service: 601
Arrests - Dangerous Moving Violations: 842
Traffic Arrests - Other Violations: 1,301
Seatbelt Arrests: 230
The Traffic Operations Section also manages the Division’s annual Administrative Patrol Program. Troopers not normally assigned to any of our eight patrol troops are tasked with conducting enforcement activities over the state’s major holiday travel weekends. To enhance safety and demonstrate an increased police presence, these “extra” Troopers are assigned to notable crash areas identified from previous year statistics. Significantly, no personal injury or fatal crashes occurred on any assigned highways over the 2014 Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, or Thanksgiving holiday weekends!
- Information obtained from 2014 DSP Annual Report -