Newark Police Participate In Distracted Driving Initiative

The week of April 1st, 2019, the Newark Police Department will be working to raise awareness of the dangers of distracted driving in the City of Newark.  Statistically, the primary contributing factors of collisions in Newark continue to be those that frequently result from inattention or last-minute operator decisions resulting in a collision.  For the last three years, these have primarily been:  Inattentive Driving, Following Too Closely and Failure to Yield.  In 2018, these three offenses accounted for 677 of the 1458 reported collisions (46%).  Violations such as red lights, stop signs and speed continue to be lesser prevalent causation’s of collisions by a significant margin.

The Newark Police Department Traffic Unit routinely conducts team-approach projects, using high visibility and high productivity enforcement, to encourage heightened awareness and voluntary compliance on the part of drivers in the City of Newark.  Multiple officers will be conducting enforcement targeting cellphone and seat-belt usage.  During this initiative, an officer will observe traffic from a static location and report violations to officers who will then stop the vehicle – typically by “step-outs” – and issue a citation, if appropriate.  Additional violations, such as Failure to Obey a Yield Sign or various equipment violations are frequently observed and cited as well.

The week of April 1st the Newark Police Traffic Unit and Special Operations Unit are conducting a joint enforcement effort to cover multiple locations within the jurisdiction simultaneously.  The goals of this initiative are to:

▪             Increase driver alertness and promote driver awareness resulting in more attentive driving and a reduction in attention related collisions.

▪             Establish a noticeable police presence on the roadway from members of the Traffic Enforcement Unit, the Special Operations Unit and additional uniformed personnel.

▪             Conduct enforcement of attention-based violations (i.e. cell phone violations).   ANY violations will be enforced (equipment, license & registration, etc.).

As part of the initiative, which coincides with the Delaware Office of Highway Safety Distracted Driving initiative, officers will distribute the OHS Distracted Driving news release with citations for civil violations related to distracted driving.

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Vehicle Strikes Building; No Injuries Reported

On March 30, 2019, at 2157 hours, Newark Police responded to 270 East Main Street, Grain Craft Bar & Kitchen, for a report that a vehicle struck the building.  Arriving officers found a 1998 Mercury Marquis that struck the building, partially penetrating it.

The investigation revealed that the operator of the vehicle, Thomas Fortune, 75, of Newark, was backing into a parking space at the adjacent Super 8 Motel located at 268 East Main Street.  Fortune mistook the gas for the brake and accelerated backwards through a fence, across the driveway leading into Grain Craft Bar & Kitchen and penetrated the wall of the restaurant.  There were no patrons injured in the restaurant.

The City of Newark Building Department responded to the scene and ordered that the restaurant close pending repair of the damage.

Fortune was cited for Inattentive Driving and was released from the scene.  There is no photo of Fortune available for release.