AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 10, DELAWARE CODE, CHAPTER 31, SECTION 3112, TO PROVIDE A METHOD FOR SERVICE OF PROCESS UPON THE FOREIGN PERSONAL REPRESENTATIVE OF THE NON-RESIDENT OWNER OR OPERATOR OF A MOTOR VEHICLE INVOLVED IN AN ACCIDENT IN THIS STATE.
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Delaware:
Section 1. Title 10, Delaware Code, Section 3112, is hereby amended by striking out sub-paragraphs (a), (b), and (c), and substituting in lieu thereof the following:
(a) Any non-resident owner, operator or driver of any motor vehicle, who accepts the privilege extended by law to non-residents of this State to operate or drive such motor vehicles on the public streets, roads, turnpikes or highways of this State by operating or driving such motor vehicle or by having the same operated or driven on any public street, road, turnpike or highway of this State shall by such acceptance of the privilege be deemed thereby to have appointed and constituted the Secretary of State of this State, his agent for the acceptance of legal process in any civil action against such nonresident owner, operator or driver arising or growing out of any accident or collision occurring within this State in which such motor vehicle is involved. The acceptance shall be a signification of the agreement of such non-resident that any such process when so served shall be of the same legal force and validity as if served upon such non-resident personally within this State, and that such appointment of the Secretary of State shall be irrevocable and binding upon his executor or administrator. Where such non-resident has died prior to the commencement of an action, or where an action has been duly commenced under the provisions of this Section by service upon a non-resident who dies thereafter, service of process, and of a writ of scire facias where required, shall be made on the Executor or Administrator of such non-resident, and upon his successors, in the same manner and on the same notice as is provided in the case of the non-resident himself.
(b) Service of the legal process provided for in this section with the fee of $2, shall be made upon the Secretary of State of this State in the same manner as is provided by law for service of writs of summons, and when so made shall be as effectual to all intents and purposes as if made personally upon the defendant within this State; provided, that not later than seven days following the filing of the return of services of process in the Court in which the civil action is commenced or following the filing with the Court of the proof of the non-receipt of notice provided for in sub-section (e) of this section, the plaintiff or a person acting in his behalf shall send by registered mail to the non-resident defendant, or to his executor or administrator, a notice consisting of a copy of the process and complaint served upon the Secretary of State and the statement that service of the original of such process has been made upon the Secretary of State of this State, and that under the provisions of this section such service is as effectual to all intents and purposes as if it had been made upon such non-resident personally within this State.
(c) Proof of the defendant's non-residence and of the mailing and receipt or refusal of the notice shall be made in such manner as the Court, by rule or otherwise, shall direct.
Section 2. This act shall not apply to any cause of action which has arisen or accrued prior to the effective date hereof, and as to such causes the provisions of law in effect immediately prior to the effective date of this act shall apply.
Approved April 14, 1964.