TITLE 21

Motor Vehicles

Operation and Equipment

CHAPTER 41. RULES OF THE ROAD

Subchapter II. Traffic Signs, Signals and Markings


(a) The driver of an authorized emergency vehicle, when responding to an emergency call or when in the pursuit of an actual or suspected violator of the law or when responding to but not upon returning from a fire alarm, may exercise the privileges set forth in this section, but subject to the conditions herein stated.

(b) The driver of an authorized emergency vehicle may:

(1) Park or stand, irrespective of the provisions of this chapter;

(2) Proceed past a red or stop signal or stop sign, but only after slowing down as may be necessary for safe operation;

(3) Exceed the speed limits so long as the driver does not endanger life or property;

(4) Disregard regulations governing direction of movement or turning in specified directions.

(c) The exemptions herein granted to an authorized emergency vehicle shall apply only when such vehicle is making use of audible or visual signals meeting the requirements of this title, except that an authorized emergency vehicle operated as a police vehicle need not make use of such signals.

(d) The driver of an emergency vehicle is not liable for any damage to or loss of property or for any personal injury or death caused by the negligent or wrongful act or omission of such driver except acts or omissions amounting to gross or wilful or wanton negligence so long as the applicable portions of subsection (c) of this section have been followed. The owner of such emergency vehicle may not assert the defense of governmental immunity in any action on account of any damage to or loss of property or on account of personal injury or death caused by the negligent or wrongful act or omission of such driver or owner.

(e) Authorized emergency vehicles within the meaning of this chapter mean vehicles of a fire department, police vehicles, ambulances, vehicles used by a fire chief, deputy fire chief, assistant fire chief, chief engineer or fire police officer of any duly organized fire company in the performance of those duties, the vehicle of the State Forester in the performance of the State Forester's duties, the vehicle of the Forest Fire Control Supervisor in the performance of the Forest Fire Control Supervisor's duties, the vehicles of the State Emergency Response Team in the performance of its duties and emergency vehicles of state, federal, county or municipal departments or public service corporations as are designated or authorized by the Secretary of Safety and Homeland Security.

21 Del. C. 1953, § 4106; 54 Del. Laws, c. 160, § 1; 61 Del. Laws, c. 461, § 1; 63 Del. Laws, c. 162, § 1; 63 Del. Laws, c. 300, § 1; 68 Del. Laws, c. 251, § 1; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 75 Del. Laws, c. 89, § 281(a); 77 Del. Laws, c. 6, § 1.;

(a) The driver of any vehicle shall obey the instructions of any traffic-control device applicable thereto placed in accordance with this title, unless otherwise directed as authorized in § 4103 of this title, subject to the exceptions granted the driver of an authorized emergency vehicle in this title.

(b) No provision of this chapter for which traffic-control devices are required shall be enforced against an alleged violator if at the time and place of the alleged violation an official traffic-control device is not in proper position and sufficiently legible to be seen by an ordinarily observant person. This subsection shall not operate to relieve a driver of the duty to operate a vehicle with due regard to the safety of all persons using the highway.

(c) Whenever a particular section does not state that traffic-control devices are required, such section shall be effective even though no traffic-control devices are erected or in place.

(d) In the event a traffic-control signal is erected and maintained at a place other than an intersection, this title shall be applicable except as to those provisions which by their nature can have no application.

(e) Whenever traffic-control devices are placed in position approximately conforming to the requirements of this title, such devices shall be presumed to have been so placed by the official act or direction of lawful authority, unless the contrary shall be established by competent evidence.

(f) Any traffic-control device placed pursuant to this title and purporting to conform to the lawful requirements pertaining to such devices shall be presumed to comply with the requirements of this title, unless the contrary shall be established by competent evidence.

21 Del. C. 1953, § 4107; 54 Del. Laws, c. 160, § 1; 57 Del. Laws, c. 670, § 13A; 60 Del. Laws, c. 701, § 10; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1.;

(a) Whenever traffic is controlled by traffic-control signals exhibiting different colored lights, or colored lighted arrows, successively 1 at a time or in combination, only the colors green, red and yellow shall be used, except for special pedestrian signals carrying a word or symbol legend, and such lights shall indicate and apply to drivers of vehicles and pedestrians as follows:

(1) Green indication:

a. Vehicular traffic facing the signal may proceed straight through or turn right or left unless a traffic-control device at such place prohibits either such turn. Vehicular traffic, including vehicles turning right or left, shall yield the right-of-way to other vehicles and to pedestrians lawfully within the intersection or an adjacent crosswalk at the time such signal is exhibited.

b. Unless otherwise directed by a pedestrian-control signal as provided in § 4109 of this title, pedestrians facing any green signal, except when the sole green signal is a turn arrow, may proceed across the roadway within any marked or unmarked crosswalk.

(2) Circular yellow or yellow arrow:

a. Vehicular traffic facing the circular yellow signal is thereby warned that a red signal for the previously permitted movement will be exhibited immediately thereafter.

b. Vehicular traffic facing the yellow arrow signal shown alone or in combination with another indication is thereby warned that the previously displayed green arrow signal is being terminated. The yellow arrow signal may be followed by a red signal or a green signal.

c. Pedestrians facing a yellow signal, unless otherwise directed by a pedestrian-control signal, are thereby advised that there is insufficient time to cross the roadway before a red indication is shown and no pedestrian shall then start to cross the roadway.

(3) Red indication:

a. Vehicular traffic facing the red signal shall stop before crossing the stop limit, whether marked by sign or painted line, or if none, before entering the crosswalk on the near side of the intersection or, if none, then before entering the intersection and shall remain standing until an indication to proceed is shown or as provided in paragraph (a)(3)b. of this section.

b. When a traffic-control device is not in place prohibiting such turn, vehicular traffic facing a circular red signal may cautiously enter the intersection to turn right, or to turn left from a one-way roadway onto a one-way roadway.

c. When turns on red are permitted, the right to proceed to turn after stopping shall be subject to the rule applicable after making a stop as at a stop sign.

d. No pedestrian facing such signal shall enter the roadway unless the pedestrian can do so safely and without interfering with any vehicular traffic.

(4) Green arrow or arrows:

a. Vehicular traffic facing a green arrow signal, shown alone or in combination with another indication, may cautiously enter the intersection only to make the movement indicated by such arrow, or such other movement as is permitted by other indications shown at the same time. Such vehicular traffic shall yield the right-of-way to pedestrians lawfully within an adjacent crosswalk and to other traffic lawfully using the intersection.

b. Vehicles facing such signals are thereby advised that other traffic movements may be prohibited from the lane or lanes that the signal indication controls. Making or attempting to make any prohibited movement is unlawful.

c. Pedestrians facing such signals shall not enter the roadway unless they can do so safely and without interfering with any vehicular traffic.

(b) When lane use control signals are placed over the individual lanes of roadway or highway, vehicular traffic may travel in any lane or lanes over which a green signal is shown, but shall not enter or travel in any lane or lanes over which a red signal is shown. Left turns may be made across such lane if not otherwise prohibited. Vehicular traffic shall move from any lane over which a steady amber signal is displayed as soon as the movement can be made in safety. Vehicular traffic may use a lane over which a flashing yellow signal is displayed for the purpose of making a left turn.

(c) In the event that traffic signals are in place and no lighted indication is visible to an approaching driver, the approaching driver shall reduce speed and prepare to yield to other vehicles in or approaching the intersection.

(d) Whoever violates this section shall be fined not less than $75 nor more than $115. Whoever violates paragraph (a)(3) of this section shall be fined not less than $75 nor more than $230. For each subsequent offense of paragraph (a)(3) of this section within 2 years, the person shall be fined not less than $100 nor more than $575, or imprisoned not less than 10 nor more than 60 days, or both.

(e) Notwithstanding any provision of the Delaware Code to the contrary, any local government, municipality, town or county, whether incorporated or unincorporated, shall pay to the General Fund any sums collected under this section or any substantially conforming ordinances and regulations enacted by local authorities that exceed the maximum fine permitted under the law as it existed prior to the effective date of subsection (d) of this section.

21 Del. C. 1953, § 4108; 54 Del. Laws, c. 160, § 1; 58 Del. Laws, c. 430; 58 Del. Laws, c. 570; 60 Del. Laws, c. 701, § 11; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 72 Del. Laws, c. 407, § 1.;

Whenever special pedestrian-control signals exhibiting the words or symbols "Walk" or "Don't Start" or "Don't Walk" are in place, such signals shall take precedence over pedestrian movements outlined in § 4108 of this title. Such signals shall apply as follows:

(1) "Walk" or flashing "Walk". — Pedestrians facing such signals may proceed across the roadway in the direction of the signal and shall be given the right-of-way by the driver of all vehicles.

(2) "Don't Walk" or flashing "Don't Walk" or "Don't Start". — No pedestrian shall start to cross the roadway in the direction of such signal, but any pedestrian who has partially completed crossing on the walk signal shall proceed to the nearest sidewalk or safety island.

21 Del. C. 1953, § 4109; 54 Del. Laws, c. 160, § 1; 60 Del. Laws, c. 701, § 12; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1.;

(a) Whenever a flashing red, yellow or green signal is used in a traffic signal or with a traffic sign, it shall require obedience by vehicle traffic as follows:

(1) Flashing red. — When a red lens is illuminated with intermittent flashes, drivers of vehicles shall stop before crossing the stop limit whether marked by a sign or painted line, but if none, before entering the crosswalk on the near side of the intersection, or if none, then before entering the intersection, and the right to proceed shall be subject to the rules applicable after making a stop as at a stop sign.

(2) Flashing yellow or green. — When a yellow or green lens is illuminated with intermittent flashes, drivers of vehicles may proceed through the intersection or pass such signals only with caution.

(b) In the event that flashing signals are in place and no lighted indication is visible to an approaching driver, the approaching driver shall reduce speed and prepare to yield to other vehicles in or approaching the intersection. If facing a stop sign, the approaching driver shall stop and proceed as from a stop sign.

(c) This section shall not apply at railroad grade crossings.

21 Del. C. 1953, § 4110; 54 Del. Laws, c. 160, § 1; 60 Del. Laws, c. 701, § 13; 67 Del. Laws, c. 46, § 72; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1.;

(a) No person shall place, maintain or display upon or in view of any highway any unauthorized sign, signal, marking or device which purports to be or is an imitation of or resembles an official traffic-control device or railroad sign or signal, or which attempts to direct the movement of traffic or which hides from view or interferes with the effectiveness of any official traffic-control device or any railroad sign or signal.

(b) No person shall place or maintain nor shall any public authority permit upon any highway any traffic sign or signal bearing thereon any commercial advertising, and no person shall attach to any traffic sign or signal any other sign containing commercial advertising.

(c) This section shall not be deemed to prohibit the erection upon private property adjacent to highways of signs giving useful directional information and of a type that cannot be mistaken for official signs, in compliance with § 1108 of Title 17.

(d) Every such prohibited sign, signal or marking is hereby declared to be a public nuisance and the authority having jurisdiction over the highway is hereby empowered to remove the same or cause it to be removed without notice.

21 Del. C. 1953, § 4111; 54 Del. Laws, c. 160, § 1.;

No person shall, without lawful authority, attempt to or, in fact alter, damage, deface, injure, twist, knock down, interfere with the operation of or remove any public roadway, bridge, drain, light, gate or traffic-control device, railroad sign or signal or other appurtenance or any inscription, shield or insignia thereon or any other part thereof or other type of highway signs erected by the State regardless of whether such sign is classified as regulatory or informational. Whoever violates this section shall, for the first offense, be fined not less than $57.50 nor more than $230, or imprisoned for not more than 10 days, or both. For each subsequent like offense committed within 2 years, the person shall be fined not less than $115 nor more than $460, or imprisoned for not more than 30 days, or both. Whoever violates this section shall in addition to any fine or incarceration make restitution to the State for actual costs incurred to replace the traffic-control device.

21 Del. C. 1953, § 4112; 54 Del. Laws, c. 160, § 1; 60 Del. Laws, c. 701, § 14; 62 Del. Laws, c. 383, §§ 1-3; 68 Del. Laws, c. 9, § 23; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1.;

(a) As used in this section, "traffic control signal preemption device" means any device that emits a pulse of light or other signal that, when received by a detector attached to a traffic control signal alters or interferes with normal operation of the traffic control device.

(b) Except as provided in subsection (d) or (e) of this section, a traffic control signal preemption device may not be installed on a motor vehicle, may not be transported in the passenger compartment of a motor vehicle, and may not be operated by the driver or passenger of a motor vehicle. No person who is not in a motor vehicle shall operate a traffic control signal preemption device. Violation of this subsection is an unclassified misdemeanor and upon arrest the device shall be seized and those convicted shall forfeit the traffic control signal preemption device and shall also be fined not less than $250 nor more than $750 and/or be sentenced to up to 3 months incarceration at Level V.

(c) No one may sell a traffic control signal preemption device, whether or not installed in a vehicle, to any person or entity for any intended use other than operation as permitted under subsection (d) or (e) of this section. Violation of this subsection is a class A misdemeanor.

(d) Installation of a traffic control signal preemption device is permitted on the following vehicles, and operation of the device is permitted as follows:

(1) Law-enforcement vehicles registered to state, county, or local authorities, when responding to a bona fide emergency, when used in combination with sirens and/or flashing lights.

(2) Vehicles registered to local fire departments and state or federal firefighting vehicles, when responding to a bona fide emergency, when used in combination with sirens and/or flashing lights.

(3) Vehicles that are designed and used exclusively as ambulances, paramedic or rescue vehicles, when responding to a bona fide emergency, when used in combination with sirens and/or flashing lights.

(4) Vehicles that are equipped and used exclusively as organ transport vehicles, when the transportation is declared an emergency by a member of the transplant team or a representative of the organ procurement organization, when used in combination with sirens and/or flashing lights.

(5) Vehicles registered to the Delaware Emergency Management Agency when responding to a bona fide emergency, when used in combination with sirens and/or flashing lights.

(6) Vehicles owned and operated by the Department of Transportation equipped to install, test and repair traffic signals when used for that express purpose.

(7) Department of Transportation vehicles that are expressly authorized by the Secretary of the Department of Transportation.

(e) Vehicles identified in paragraphs (d)(2) and (3) of this section may operate a traffic control preemption device when such vehicles are returning to their assigned duty station entranceways or driveways, but only to affect the operation of the traffic control signal or signals permitting direct access of such vehicles to their assigned duty stations' entranceways or driveways.

74 Del. Laws, c. 231, § 1; 76 Del. Laws, c. 137, § 1; 78 Del. Laws, c. 89, §§ 1, 2.;