The Office of Highway Safety (OHS) is committed to improving the safety of Delaware's motoring public by focusing on behavioral traffic safety issues such as impaired driving, seat belt use, aggressive driving, child passenger safety, pedestrian and bicycle safety, motorcycle safety and teen driving issues. Like its sister agencies - the Delaware State Police, the Capitol Police, the Division of Alcohol, Tobacco Enforcement and DEMA – OHS addresses public safety as it relates to driver behavior. Changes and improvements to infrastructure are the jurisdiction of the Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT).
The Delaware Office of Highway Safety was established on July 19, 1968 by Executive Order 35.
A Division of the Department of Safety and Homeland Security, OHS and its activities are primarily funded through federal grants from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
The Office of Highway Safety, established in 1967 via Delaware Code, Title 29, Part IV, Chapter 49, §4901-4904, promotes public safety through the administration and distribution of federal highway safety funds for a variety of state and local highway safety programs and initiatives. In June 2008, Delaware's General Assembly formally established the Office of Highway Safety (OHS) as a division of the Department of Safety and Homeland Security and established the administrator of the office as the Director of the Office of Highway Safety. OHS is committed to coordinating highway safety initiatives designed to impact our priority areas in accordance with National Highway Traffic Safety Administration guidelines.
As a division of the Department of Safety and Homeland Security, the Office of Highway Safety fulfills its mission through a variety of public information and enforcement efforts aimed at reducing the number of crashes on Delaware roads. OHS serves as a clearinghouse for highway safety information in the state. Office staff members are committed to further developing partnerships with agencies statewide, including state, local, and county law enforcement agencies, the Department of Transportation, the Department of Health and Social Services, the Department of Justice, the Administrative Office of the Courts, the Delaware Justice Information System (DelJIS), the Department of Corrections, local Metropolitan Planning Organizations, SAFE KIDS, county EMS offices, Dover Air Force Base, hospitals, businesses, educators, and a host of other organizations. These vital statewide links are essential to the successful promotion of safe driving practices in our state.
By focusing our efforts on the state's identified highway safety priority areas, developing statewide partnerships, and increasing the public's awareness of safe driving habits, the Office of Highway Safety, under the leadership and direction of OHS Director, Kimberly Chesser, is striving to make Delaware's roadways the safest in the country.
Highway safety programming concentrates on public outreach and education; high-visibility enforcement; utilization of new safety technology; collaboration with safety and business organizations; and cooperation with other state agencies and local governments. Programming resources are directed to the following identified highway safety priority areas: Impaired Driving , Occupant Protection, Pedestrian Safety, Speeding, Distracted Driving, Motorcycle Safety, and Traffic Records.
The primary functions of the Office of Highway Safety include:
- Administration: Includes the management of federal and state highway safety funds, distribution of federal funds to identified agencies and the preparation of the annual Highway Safety Plan and Annual Report.
- Problem Identification: Includes identification of the types of crashes that are occurring, the crash locations and the primary contributing circumstances leading to these crashes, as well as the development of effective counter measures based on the crash data.
- Monitoring & Evaluation: Includes monitoring legislative initiatives that impact highway safety and monitoring and evaluating the effectiveness of approved highway safety projects.
- Public Information & Education: Includes development and coordination of numerous media events and public awareness/outreach activities with emphasis on the identified priority areas.