TITLE 21

Motor Vehicles

Operation and Equipment

CHAPTER 43. EQUIPMENT AND CONSTRUCTION OF VEHICLES

Subchapter I. Equipment Requirements


Every solid rubber tire on a vehicle moved on any highway shall have rubber at least 1 inch thick above the edge of the flange of the entire periphery on its entire traction surface.

36 Del. Laws, c. 10, § 121; Code 1935, § 5659; 21 Del. C. 1953, § 4301.;

(a) No tire on a vehicle moved on a highway shall have on its periphery any block, stud, flange, cleat or spike or any other protuberances of any material other than rubber which projects beyond the tread of the traction surface of the tire, except as otherwise provided in this section. Farm machinery with tires having protuberances which will not injure the highway may be used, and tire chains of reasonable proportions may be used upon any vehicle when required for safety because of snow, ice or other conditions tending to cause a vehicle to slide or skid.

(b) The use of studded tires on all motor vehicles using the highways of this State is permitted from October 15 to April 15.

36 Del. Laws, c. 10, § 121; Code 1935, § 5659; 21 Del. C. 1953, § 4302; 58 Del. Laws, c. 128.;

(a) Every motor vehicle when operated upon a highway shall be equipped with brakes adequate to control the movement of and to stop and to hold such vehicle and any trailer or semitrailer attached thereto including 2 separate means of applying the brakes, each of which means shall be effective to apply the brakes to at least 2 wheels and shall be so constructed that no part which is liable to failure shall be common to the 2. A motorcycle need be equipped with only 1 brake. All brakes shall be maintained in good working order and shall conform to regulations, not inconsistent with this subchapter, to be promulgated by the Secretary. All brakes shall be so adjusted as to operate as equally as practicable with respect to the wheels on opposite sides of the vehicle.

(b) All braking distances specified in this subchapter shall apply to all vehicles mentioned herein, whether such vehicles are loaded or are not loaded to the maximum capacity permitted under Chapter 45 of this title.

(c) Except as provided in this subsection, no motor vehicle, when operated upon a highway in this State, shall utilize or employ any brake or braking system that is attached to, or an integral part of, the vehicle's internal combustion engine or exhaust systems. Nothing in this section shall be interpreted as prohibiting the equipping of any motor vehicle with a braking system that is attached to, or an integral part of, the vehicle's engine or exhaust systems. Nothing in this section shall be interpreted as prohibiting the use of a braking system that is attached to, or an integral part of, the vehicle's engine or exhaust system in an emergency situation or an emergency vehicle including police, fire, ambulance, emergency medical service vehicles or other emergency vehicles.

36 Del. Laws, c. 10, § 123; 40 Del. Laws, c. 38, § 8; Code 1935, § 5661; 21 Del. C. 1953, § 4303; 57 Del. Laws, c. 670, § 15A; 76 Del. Laws, c. 368, § 1.;

(a) The service brakes upon any motor vehicle or combination of vehicles shall be adequate to stop such vehicle when traveling 20 miles per hour within a distance of 30 feet when upon dry asphalt or concrete pavement surface free from loose material where the grade does not exceed 1 percent.

(b) Under the road conditions mentioned in subsection (a) of this section, the hand brake shall be adequate to stop the vehicle within a distance of 55 feet and the hand brake shall be adequate to hold such vehicle stationary on any grade upon which operated.

(c) Under the road conditions mentioned in subsection (a) of this section, the service brakes upon a motor vehicle equipped with 2-wheel brakes only shall be adequate to stop the vehicle within a distance of 40 feet and the hand brake adequate to stop the vehicle within a distance of 55 feet.

36 Del. Laws, c. 10, § 123; 40 Del. Laws, c. 38, § 8; Code 1935, § 5661; 21 Del. C. 1953, § 4304.;

No trailer or semitrailer with a gross weight of load and vehicle in excess of 4,000 pounds shall be operated on the highways of this State at a speed in excess of 10 miles per hour unless equipped with suitable brakes controlled by the operator of the towing vehicle.

36 Del. Laws, c. 10, § 123; Code 1935, § 5661; 21 Del. C. 1953, § 4305.;

(a) Every motor vehicle when operated upon a highway shall be equipped with a horn in good working order capable of emitting sound audible under normal conditions from a distance of not less than 200 feet.

(b) Except as otherwise provided, no vehicle shall be equipped with and no person shall use upon a vehicle any siren, exhaust, compression or spark plug whistle, and no person at any time shall use a horn otherwise than as a reasonable warning or make any unnecessary or unreasonable loud or harsh sound by means of a horn or other warning device.

(c) No person operating or occupying a motor vehicle on any street, highway, alley, or parking lot shall operate or permit the operation of any music amplification system, including, but not limited to, any radio, tape player, compact disc player, or any other electrical device used for the amplification of music in or on the motor vehicle so that the sound is plainly audible at a distance of 50 or more feet from the vehicle. For the purpose of this subsection, "plainly audible" means any sound which clearly can be heard by unaided hearing faculties, however, words or phrases need not be discernible and bass reverberation alone shall be sufficient to so constitute.

(d) Subsection (c) of this section shall not apply to those in a parade which has been issued a permit nor to commercially licensed vendors in the legitimate operation of their businesses.

(e) Subsection (c) of this section shall not apply to any municipality of this State with a population in excess of 50,000 which has an ordinance addressing noise violations of that type. In the event that any such municipality repeals its ordinance without substituting requirements at least as restrictive as those found in subsection (c) of this section, then the provisions of subsection (c) of this section shall take effect within that municipality.

36 Del. Laws, c. 10, § 124; Code 1935, § 5662; 21 Del. C. 1953, § 4306; 74 Del. Laws, c. 399, § 1.;

(a) Every police, fire department and fire patrol vehicle and every ambulance used for emergency calls, except as provided in subsection (b) of this section, shall be equipped with a bell, siren or exhaust whistle.

(b) A vehicle used by a fire chief, deputy fire chief, assistant fire chief, or fire police officer of a duly organized fire department, which is not owned by or the property of the fire department, shall not be equipped with such warning devices.

36 Del. Laws, c. 10, § 124; Code 1935, § 5662; 21 Del. C. 1953, § 4307; 57 Del. Laws, c. 670, § 15A; 61 Del. Laws, c. 461, § 2; 62 Del. Laws, c. 165, § 1; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 77 Del. Laws, c. 6, § 2.;

All motor vehicles and motorcycles shall be equipped with a mirror so placed that the driver thereof may readily ascertain the presence of any vehicle traveling in the same direction and overtaking the driver's vehicle.

36 Del. Laws, c. 10, § 125; Code 1935, § 5663; 21 Del. C. 1953, § 4308; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1.;

(a) No person shall drive any vehicle upon a highway with any sign, poster or other nontransparent material upon the front windshield, side wings or side or rear window of such motor vehicle, other than a certificate or other paper required to be so displayed by law.

(b) No person shall drive upon a highway a vehicle with a removable windshield placard issued pursuant to § 2135 of this title or pursuant to a similar statute of any other state or country hanging from or attached to the vehicle's front windshield rearview mirror. A person may be found guilty of violating this subsection whether or not the placard is valid.

36 Del. Laws, c. 10, § 126; Code 1935, § 5664; 21 Del. C. 1953, § 4309; 73 Del. Laws, c. 397, § 4.;

Every windshield on a motor vehicle shall be equipped with a device for cleaning rain, snow or other moisture from the windshield. The device shall be so constructed as to be controlled or operated by the driver of the vehicle.

36 Del. Laws, c. 10, § 126; Code 1935, § 5664; 21 Del. C. 1953, § 4310.;

(a) No person shall drive a motor vehicle, including a motorcycle, on a highway, including residential streets, unless such motor vehicle or motorcycle is equipped with a muffler in good working order and in accordance with manufacturer's specifications and in constant operation to prevent excessive or unusual noise.

(b) No person shall use a "muffler cutout" on any motor vehicle upon a highway.

(c) It shall be unlawful to sell or offer for sale any muffler without interior baffle plates or other effective muffling devices or to sell or offer for sale any "gutted muffler," "muffler cutout" or "straight exhaust."

(d) The provisions of this section shall only apply if there is not a violation of § 4311A of this title.

36 Del. Laws, c. 10, § 127; 37 Del. Laws, c. 10, § 34; Code 1935, § 5665; 21 Del. C. 1953, § 4311; 59 Del. Laws, c. 371, § 1; 61 Del. Laws, c. 478, § 1; 75 Del. Laws, c. 164, § 3.;

(a) No person shall drive a commercial vehicle equipped with an engine compression brake device on a highway, including residential streets, unless such commercial vehicle is also equipped with a muffler in good working order and in accordance with manufacturer's specifications and in constant operation to prevent excessive noise.

(b) For the purposes of this section, "engine compression brake device" shall mean any device that uses the engine and transmission to impede the forward motion of the motor vehicle by compression of the engine.

75 Del. Laws, c. 164, § 1.;

(a) No person shall operate, on any public highway or street in this State, any motor vehicle which is registered in the State and which has been manufactured or assembled on or after July 1, 1937, unless such motor vehicle and/or any trailer drawn thereby is equipped with safety glass, wherever glass is used in partitions, doors, windows or windshields.

(b) The term "safety glass" as used in this subchapter means glass so treated or combined with other materials as to reduce, in comparison with ordinary sheet glass or plate glass, the likelihood of injury to persons by objects from external sources or by glass when the glass is cracked or broken.

40 Del. Laws, c. 35, §§ 1, 2; Code 1935, §§ 5714, 5715; 41 Del. Laws, c. 234, § 1; 21 Del. C. 1953, § 4312.;

(a) No person shall operate any motor vehicle on any public highway, road or street with the front windshield, the side windows to the immediate right and left of the driver and/or side wings forward of and to the left and right of the driver that do not meet the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 205 in effect at the time of its manufacture.

(b) Nothing in this section shall prohibit the use of any products or materials along the top edge of the windshield so long as such products or materials are transparent and do not encroach upon the AS-1 portion of the windshield as provided by FMVSS 205 and [former] FMVSS 128.

(c) No person shall operate any motor vehicle on any public highway, road or street which does not conspicuously display a certificate by the manufacturer of any "after manufacture" window tinting material which may have been installed that such window tinting material meets the requirements of FMVSS 205 in effect at the time of the vehicle's manufacture. It shall be a valid defense to any charge under this subsection if the person so charged produces in court a validated mandatory inspection notice showing that the Division of Motor Vehicles has examined the motor vehicle since the date of offense and certifies compliance with FMVSS 205.

(d) No person shall be convicted under this section if that person possesses a statement signed by a licensed practitioner of medicine and surgery or osteopathic medicine or optometry verifying that tinted windows are medically necessary for the owner or usual operator of said vehicle.

(e) This section shall not apply to anodized glass which is correctly installed in the windshield and windows of an antique motor vehicle or street rod, as such are defined in §§ 2196 and 2197 of this title or of a motor vehicle validly insured under an antique, classic or street rod designated motor vehicle insurance policy that covers the motor vehicle, pursuant to § 2118 of this title.

(f) This section shall not apply to any police K-9 unit vehicles, or any surveillance vehicles operated by a police officer, as defined under § 8401(5) of Title 11. This exception shall not apply to marked vehicles, except for police K-9 unit vehicles, or those unmarked vehicles used primarily for regular duty patrols.

40 Del. Laws, c. 35, § 4; Code 1935, § 5717; 46 Del. Laws, c. 63; 21 Del. C. 1953, § 4313; 57 Del. Laws, c. 670, § 15B; 64 Del. Laws, c. 33, § 1; 67 Del. Laws, c. 227, § 1; 68 Del. Laws, c. 210, § 1; 70 Del. Laws, c. 357, § 1; 71 Del. Laws, c. 396, § 1; 74 Del. Laws, c. 393, § 1; 79 Del. Laws, c. 230, § 1.;

(a) No person who installs window tinting material in motor vehicles as part of a commercial activity shall do so in violation of the requirements of § 4313 of this title.

(b) Whoever violates subsection (a) of this section shall be fined not less than $100 nor more than $500. If any fee was charged for such installation, the violator shall pay restitution to the owner of the vehicle in the amount of the fee charged for installing the illegal window tinting.

74 Del. Laws, c. 39, § 1.;

A person may not use on any motor vehicle or trailer any light, lamp or reflector that tends to change the original design or performance of the motor vehicle or trailer, unless the light, lamp or reflector is of a type that has been approved by the Department and is mounted, adjusted and aimed in accordance with regulations adopted by the Secretary. Such regulations shall not violate the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards.

66 Del. Laws, c. 109, § 1.;

(a) Whoever violates §§ 4301-4305 of this title shall for the first offense be fined not less than $25 nor more than $115. For each subsequent like offense, the person shall be fined not less than $57.50 nor more than $230, or imprisoned not less than 10 nor more than 30 days, or both.

(b) Whoever violates §§ 4306-4311 of this title, except for § 4306(c) of this title, shall for the first offense be fined not less than $10 nor more than $28.75. For each subsequent like offense, the person shall be fined not less than $28.75 nor more than $100. Whoever violates § 4306(c) of this title shall be subject to a fine of at least $50 and not to exceed $250. For each subsequent offense such person shall be subject to a fine of at least $125 and not to exceed $500.

(c) Whoever violates § 4311A of this title shall be fined $500.

(d) Whoever being the operator, owner or custodian of any motor vehicle which is operated in violation of §§ 4312-4316 of this title shall be fined not less than $28.75 nor more than $100.

(e) In case of any violation of §§ 4301-4316 of this title by any common carrier or person operating under a permit or certificate issued by any public authority, in addition to the penalties prescribed in this section, such permit or certificate shall be revoked or, in the discretion of the issuing authority suspended until such sections are satisfactorily complied with.

36 Del. Laws, c. 10, §§ 141, 142; 37 Del. Laws, c. 10, § 34; 38 Del. Laws, c. 30; 40 Del. Laws, c. 35, § 6; 40 Del. Laws, c. 37, § 1; Code 1935, §§ 5679, 5680, 5719; 45 Del. Laws, c. 292, § 2; 46 Del. Laws, c. 61; 21 Del. C. 1953, § 4315; 65 Del. Laws, c. 503, § 22; 68 Del. Laws, c. 9, §§ 41-43; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 74 Del. Laws, c. 399, §§ 2, 3; 75 Del. Laws, c. 164, § 2.;

All new vehicles licensed in this State must be equipped with directional signal lights.

21 Del. C. 1953, § 4316; 49 Del. Laws, c. 96, § 1.;

(a) No person shall operate, cause or permit to be operated any bus or commercial motor vehicle having a gross weight of 8,000 pounds or more, including semitrailers and trailers, upon the highways of this State unless it is equipped with suitable metal protectors or substantial flexible flaps behind the rearmost wheels of the vehicle or combination to prevent the projection of rocks, dirt, water or other substances to the rear and to minimize side spray.

(b) The flap, shield or other device shall extend down from the vehicle's body to not more than 8 inches above the road surface, but not more than 15 inches when the vehicle is in an unloaded condition. The protector or flap shall extend laterally at least the width of the tire being protected.

(c) If any bus or commercial motor vehicle, including semitrailers and trailers, is so designed or constructed that the objectives in subsection (a) of this section are accomplished by reason of fender or body construction or other means of enclosure, either permanent or temporary, then the requirements of this section have been satisfied.

(d) This section shall not apply to any farm tractor or to uncoupled truck tractors or other vehicles where the construction is such that complete freedom around the wheel area is necessary to secure the designed use of the vehicle.

(e) The Director of the Division of Motor Vehicles shall set and adopt such regulations as are necessary to implement this section.

(f) Whoever violates this section shall for the first offense be fined not less than $10 nor more than $28.75. For each subsequent like offense, the person shall be fined not less than $28.75 nor more than $100.

21 Del. C. 1953, § 4359; 57 Del. Laws, c. 684; 58 Del. Laws, c. 410; 65 Del. Laws, c. 503, § 23; 68 Del. Laws, c. 9, § 44; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1.;

(a) No passenger vehicle or station wagon that is required to be registered under Chapter 21 of this title shall be registered or operated upon any highway of the State if the bumper height of such vehicle exceeds 22 inches from the ground to the bottom of the bumper, or if the vehicle frame rail is higher than the attached bumper, or if the maximum distance between the vehicle body and vehicle frame rail exceeds 3 inches.

(b) Vehicles not included in subsection (a) of this section that are required to be registered under Chapter 21 of this title shall not be registered or operated upon any highway of the State if the bumper height of such vehicle exceeds 30 inches from the ground to the bottom of the bumper, or if the vehicle frame rail is higher than the attached bumper, or if the maximum distance between the vehicle body and vehicle frame rail exceeds 3 inches.

(c) The following vehicles are exempt from this section: antique motor vehicles registered under § 2196 of this title; authorized emergency vehicles; motor vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating of 10,000 pounds or greater; and vehicles registered with farm truck plates (FT tags), as defined in § 2113(1) of this title.

(d) Any person found guilty of operating a motor vehicle in violation of this section shall, for the first offense, be fined not less than $50 nor more than $115 For each subsequent like offense within one year, such person shall be fined not less than $100 nor more than $230. Measurements made with an over-the-counter measuring device shall be prima facie evidence of a violation.

62 Del. Laws, c. 147, § 1; 68 Del. Laws, c. 9, § 45; 70 Del. Laws, c. 85, § 1; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1.;

(a) Except as to farm vehicles, all commercial vehicles registered in the State with a gross weight rating of 26,001 pounds or more shall be equipped with:

(1) An audible reverse warning signal, so as to adequately place an individual within 50 feet of such vehicle on notice that such commercial vehicle intends to and/or is in the process of moving backwards in a reverse gear;

(2) A backup camera visible in the cab of the vehicle; or

(3) An audible warning device that will alert the driver when the vehicle is approaching an object.

(b) This section shall only apply to commercial vehicles that are titled on or after January 1, 2014.

(c) Whomever violates this section shall be subject to a civil penalty of $75. For each subsequent offense within 2 years of a prior offense, the person shall be subject to a civil penalty of $175.

79 Del. Laws, c. 179, § 1.;