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Delaware Traffic Laws

As a visitor or resident in Delaware, you'll need to know the Delaware traffic laws before you hit the road. Breaking the law while driving, however accidental, will put you at risk for penalties like fines or even the loss of your license.

Delaware has unique rules for traffic control and law enforcement. Learn about its vehicle code, traffic ticket system, right-of-way laws, and more information Delaware drivers should remember.

Check the State's Rules of the Road

Most traffic laws are covered in Title 21: Motor Vehicles of the Delaware Code. See the chart below to find specific statutes for popular topics.

Drinking & Driving Violations Driving under the influence (DE Code Title 21 section 4177)
Driving Without a License / With a Suspended License Driving without a license (DE Code Title 21 section 2701)
Driving Without Insurance / With Insufficient Insurance Motor vehicle liability policy (DE Code Title 21 section 2902)
Driving Without Registration / With Expired Registration Operation of unregistered vehicle (DE Code Title 21 section 2101)
Illegal U-Turn Limitations on turning around (DE Code Title 21 section 4153)
Leaving the Scene of an Accident / Hit & Run Duty of driver involved in accident - property damage or injury (DE Code Title 21 section 4201)Duty of driver involved in accident - injury or death (DE Code Title 21 section 4202)
Mechanical Violations and Unlawful Vehicle Modifications Equipment Requirements (DE Code Title 21 sections 4301 to 4319)Lights (DE Code Title 21 sections 4331 to 4358)
Reckless Driving Reckless driving (DE Code Title 21 section 4175)
Running a Red Light / Stop Sign Traffic Signs, Signals, and Markings (DE Code Title 21 sections 4106 to 4112A)
Seat Belt / Child Restraint Violations Occupant Protection System Safety Act (DE Code Title 21 sections 4801 to 4803)
Speeding Speed Restrictions (DE Code Title 21 sections 4168 to 4174)

Local Ordinances and Regulations

State laws build the framework for traffic rules, but state agencies and local governments work together to address specific needs. For instance, Dover maintains and enforces its own red light cameras at select traffic signals around the city.

When driving between towns, watch for road signs that alert drivers to local rules. If a city posts signs prohibiting a right or left turn at a specific intersection, you must obey the sign. Even if no other vehicles are around and you believe you could turn safely, the local law wouldn't allow it.

Delaware Speed Limits

There are maximum speed limits for different road types in the state of Delaware as follows:

  • 20 mph in school zones (when applicable)
  • 25 mph in most residential and commercial area roads
  • 50 mph on two-lane roads
  • 55 mph on four-lane roads and divided highways

These maximum speed limits are the general default speeds in the state, but individual roads can have different limits. Always obey the posted speed limit. The law also requires motorists to drive at a reasonable and prudent speed, which means you must slow down for hazards like winter weather.

You can get a speeding ticket without a police officer ever pulling you over. Delaware allows electronic speed monitors to capture speeding violations of more than ten miles above the speed limit.

Traffic Violations and Driver's License Points

Delaware's point system tracks a driver's record of traffic offenses. The Delaware Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) reviews how many points a driver accumulates through tickets.

Most moving violations add points to your driving record, yet not all tickets have point values. For example, regular speeding tickets from a police officer can add two to six points, but a ticket from a speed camera does not add points.

Each violation is worth its full point value for 12 months. Then, it reduces to half its value for the next 12 months. This means an aggressive driving conviction would be worth six points during the first year but three points during the second year. After the second year, the points do not count against your license.

License Suspension

Getting 12 points within 24 months triggers a mandatory defensive driving course or a license suspension for two months. If you get even more points, you'll face longer suspension periods.

Total points are only one of the possible causes for license suspension in Delaware. You can also face an immediate suspension for serious traffic offenses like drunk driving.

Got a Traffic Ticket in Delaware?

Consider your options before you pay a ticket or accept traffic charges such as reckless driving. You can challenge tickets in Delaware courts. Find a traffic law attorney in your city to learn how they may help protect your driving privileges.

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