TITLE 21

Motor Vehicles

Operation and Equipment

CHAPTER 41. RULES OF THE ROAD

Subchapter VIII. Speed Restrictions


(a) No person shall drive a vehicle on a highway at a speed greater than is reasonable and prudent under the conditions and without having regard to the actual and potential hazards then existing. In every event, speed shall be so controlled as may be necessary to avoid colliding with any person, vehicle or other conveyance on or entering the highway, in compliance with legal requirements and the duty of all persons to use due care.

(b) The driver of every vehicle shall, consistent with the requirements of subsection (a) of this section, drive at an appropriate speed when approaching and crossing an intersection or railway grade crossing, when approaching and going around a curve, when approaching a hill crest, when traveling upon any narrow or winding roadway and when a special hazard exists with respect to pedestrians or other traffic or by reason of weather or highway conditions.

21 Del. C. 1953, § 4168; 54 Del. Laws, c. 160, § 1; 60 Del. Laws, c. 701, § 43.;

(a) Where no special hazard exists, the following speeds shall be lawful, but any speed in excess of such limits shall be absolute evidence that the speed is not reasonable or prudent and that it is unlawful [for] all types of vehicles:

(1) 25 miles per hour in any business district;

(2) 25 miles per hour in any residential district;

(3) 20 miles per hour at all school zones where 20 mph regulatory signs are posted and state the time periods or conditions during which the speed limit is in effect; such conditions may include when children are present or while 1 or more warning lights flash;

(4) 50 miles per hour on 2-lane roadways;

(5) 55 miles per hour on 4-lane roadways and on divided roadways.

(b) Whenever the Department of Transportation shall determine, on the basis of engineering studies and traffic investigations or upon the basis of a federal law or directive by the Congress or the President, that a maximum speed limit set pursuant to subsection (a) of this section in any particular place on the state maintained highway system is greater or less than is reasonable or safe, the Department shall declare a reasonable and safe maximum limit thereat, which limit shall be effective when posted. Such maximum limit may be declared to be effective either part or all of the time and differing limits may be established for different times of the day, for different types of vehicles, for different weather conditions and when other significant factors differ. Such maximum limits may be posted on fixed or variable signs. Any speed in excess of such displayed limits shall be absolute evidence that the speed is not reasonable or prudent and that it is unlawful.

(c) Penalties for violation of this section are as follows:

(1) Whoever violates this section shall for the first offense be fined $20. For each subsequent offense, the person shall be fined $25. A subsequent violation, before being punishable as such, shall have been committed within 24 months after the commission of the prior offense.

(2) Any person violating this section who exceeds the maximum speed limit by more than 5 miles per hour but less than 16 miles per hour shall pay an additional fine of $1.00 per mile, if such violation is a first offense, or $2.00 per mile, if such violation is a subsequent offense, for each mile in excess of the maximum speed limit.

(3) Any person violating this section who exceeds the maximum speed limit by more than 15 miles per hour but less than 20 miles per hour shall pay an additional fine of $2.00 per mile, if such violation is a first offense, or $3.00 per mile, if such violation is a subsequent offense, for each mile in excess of the maximum speed limit.

(4) Any person violating this section who exceeds the maximum speed limit by more than 19 miles per hour shall pay an additional fine of $3.00 per mile, if such violation is a first offense, or $4.00 per mile, if such violation is a second offense, for each mile in excess of the maximum speed limit.

(d) The Department of Transportation shall designate a maximum speed limit of 65 miles per hour for all portions of Delaware State Route 1 located between the Red Lion Creek and the Appoquinimink River. Such maximum limits may be posted on fixed or variable signs. Any speed in excess of such displayed limits shall be absolute evidence that the speed is not reasonable or prudent and that it is unlawful.

21 Del. C. 1953, § 4169; 54 Del. Laws, c. 160, § 1; 55 Del. Laws, c. 362, §§ 1, 2; 56 Del. Laws, c. 172; 56 Del. Laws, c. 302; 57 Del. Laws, c. 670, §§ 13A, 13C; 60 Del. Laws, c. 700, § 7; 61 Del. Laws, c. 458, § 1; 65 Del. Laws, c. 503, § 18; 66 Del. Laws, c. 333, § 1; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 72 Del. Laws, c. 403, § 1; 75 Del. Laws, c. 323, § 1; 77 Del. Laws, c. 411, § 2; 78 Del. Laws, c. 208, § 7.;

(a) Whenever local authorities within their respective jurisdictions determine upon the basis of an engineering and traffic investigation that the absolute speed permitted under this chapter is greater than is reasonable or safe under the conditions found to exist, such local authority, subject to subsection (c) of this section, shall determine and declare a reasonable and safe absolute speed limit, which shall be effective when appropriate signs giving notice thereof are erected.

(b) Local authorities in their respective jurisdictions may at their discretion, but subject to subsection (c) of this section, authorize by ordinance higher absolute speeds than those stated in this chapter upon through highways or upon highways or portions thereof where there are no intersections or between widely spaced intersections provided signs are erected giving notice of the authorized speed, but local authorities shall not modify or alter the basic rule set forth in § 4168(a) of this title.

(c) Alteration of absolute limits on state-maintained highways in any municipality by local authorities shall not be effective until such alteration has been approved by the Department of Transportation.

21 Del. C. 1953, § 4170; 54 Del. Laws, c. 160, § 1; 57 Del. Laws, c. 670, § 13A; 74 Del. Laws, c. 110, § 138; 79 Del. Laws, c. 224, § 1.;

(a) No person shall drive a motor vehicle at such a slow speed as to impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic except when reduced speed is necessary for safe operation or in compliance with law.

(b) A minimum speed limit, below which no person shall drive a vehicle except when necessary for safe operation or in compliance with law, may be displayed on appropriate traffic-control devices.

21 Del. C. 1953, § 4171; 54 Del. Laws, c. 160, § 1; 57 Del. Laws, c. 670, § 13A; 60 Del. Laws, c. 700, § 8; 60 Del. Laws, c. 701, § 44.;

(a) No person shall drive any vehicle in any race, speed competition or contest, drag race or acceleration contest, test of physical endurance, exhibition of speed or acceleration and no person shall aid, abet, promote, assist or in any manner participate in any such race, competition, contest, test or exhibition. A violation of this subsection shall be an unclassified misdemeanor.

(b) No person shall accelerate or try to accelerate a vehicle at a rate which causes the drive wheels to spin or slip on the road surface. This subsection shall not apply during periods of inclement weather.

(c) No owner or person in charge of a vehicle shall permit that vehicle or any vehicle under the person's control to be used by another person for any of the purposes listed in subsection (a) or (b) of this section. If any vehicle is witnessed by a police officer to be in violation of this section and the identity of the operator is not otherwise apparent, the person in whose name such vehicle is registered as the owner shall be held prima facie responsible for such violation.

(d) Whoever violates this section shall be fined for the first offense not less than $25 nor more than $200, or imprisoned not less than 10 days nor more than 30 days or both. For each subsequent like offense, the person shall be fined not less than $50 nor more than $400, or imprisoned not less than 15 days nor more than 60 days or both. Upon receiving notice of a conviction for a first offense, the Secretary shall forthwith suspend the driver's license of the person convicted, for a period of not longer than 6 months. Upon receiving notice of a conviction of a subsequent like offense, the Secretary shall suspend the driver's license for a 1-year period. Notwithstanding the foregoing, there shall not be a suspension of driver's license upon conviction for a first offense under subsection (b) of this section.

21 Del. C. 1953, § 4172; 54 Del. Laws, c. 160, § 1; 56 Del. Laws, c. 315; 57 Del. Laws, c. 670, § 13B; 60 Del. Laws, c. 702, § 1; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 77 Del. Laws, c. 60, § 12.;

(a) No person shall operate a motor vehicle in such a manner as to cause wilful, wanton or reckless damage to or destruction of property owned by another person, party, company or corporation.

(b) No owner or person in charge of a motor vehicle shall permit that motor vehicle or any motor vehicle under the person's control to be operated by another person in such a manner as to cause wilful, wanton or reckless damage to or destruction of property owned by another person, party, company or corporation, nor so as to cause or threaten to cause injury or death to any person.

(c) Whoever being an operator violates this section shall be guilty of an unclassified misdemeanor, and shall be fined for the first offense not less than $25 nor more than $200, or imprisoned not less than 10 days nor more than 30 days or both. Upon receiving the notice of such conviction, the Secretary shall forthwith suspend the driver's license of the person convicted, for a period of not longer than 6 months. For each subsequent like offense, the person shall be fined not less than $50 nor more than $400, or imprisoned not less than 15 days nor more than 60 days or both. Upon receiving a court record of conviction for a subsequent like offense, the Secretary shall suspend the driver's license for a 1-year period.

(d) Whoever being the owner or person in charge of a motor vehicle who permitted such motor vehicle to be operated in violation of this section shall be guilty of an unclassified misdemeanor, and shall be fined for the first offense not less than $28.75 nor more than $230, or imprisoned not less than 10 days nor more than 30 days or both. For each subsequent like offense the person shall be fined not less than $57.50 nor more than $460, or imprisoned not less than 15 days nor more than 60 days or both.

(e) This section shall apply to the operation of motor vehicles on public highways and elsewhere throughout the State.

60 Del. Laws, c. 702, § 4; 62 Del. Laws, c. 153, § 1; 68 Del. Laws, c. 9, § 30; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 77 Del. Laws, c. 60, § 13.;

(a) No person shall drive a vehicle over any bridge or elevated structure constituting a part of a highway at a speed which is greater than the maximum speed which can be maintained with safety to such bridge or structure, when such bridge has traffic-control devices displayed.

(b) No person shall drive a vehicle over any bridge or elevated structure constituting a part of a highway when such vehicle's gross weight, including carried load, is greater than the maximum weight which can be maintained with safety to such bridge or structure, when such structure has traffic-control devices displayed.

(c) The existence of traffic-control devices shall be conclusive evidence of the maximum speed or gross weight, including carried load, which can, with safety to any such structures, be maintained thereon.

21 Del. C. 1953, § 4173; 54 Del. Laws, c. 160, § 1; 57 Del. Laws, c. 670, § 13A; 60 Del. Laws, c. 701, § 45.;

In every charge of violation of any speed regulation in this chapter, except §§ 4168 and 4172 of this title, the complaint and the summons or notice to appear shall specify the speed at which the defendant is alleged to have driven and the maximum or minimum speed applicable at the location.

21 Del. C. 1953, § 4174; 54 Del. Laws, c. 160, § 1; 60 Del. Laws, c. 701, § 46.;