Delaware New Resident Guide

Welcome to Delaware! As a new driver to this state you will need to be aware of our unique traffic laws and regulations. Here's what you need to keep in mind while driving in Delaware. Some of these rules may be the same as what you're already used to, but others will be drastically different!

Licensing and Residency Requirements

  • Every owner of a motor vehicle or trailer, within 60 days after taking up residence in the state, shall apply to the DOT and obtain the registration for the vehicle.
  • If you move into Delaware from another State, you must apply for a Delaware driver's license within 60 days after becoming a resident.
  • Within 30 days after legally changing your name, you must personally go to an office of the Division to change the name on your license.
  • The Division must be notified within one month of legal name changes.
  • Persons moving to the District, who have a valid registration from another jurisdiction, have 30 days from the date of entering DC to obtain a registration.
  • If you live in the city for 30 days or more and operate a vehicle in public space, DC law requires you to obtain a DC Driver license, unless you are eligible for reciprocity (students, active military, part-time residents, members of Congress, government appointees).
  • Residents are required to update changes in address within 5 days to keep their records current.

Graduated Licensing Program

Learner's Permit


  • Must be at least 16 years of age;
  • Must have completed an approved driver education course;
  • Must have passed a written exam;
  • Must have passed a behind-the-wheel road skills test.

Privileges and Restrictions

  • Must be supervised by a licensed driver age 25 or older riding in the front passenger seat and who has held a Class D license for at least 5 years. No passengers other than the adult supervisor and 1 other passenger may be in the vehicle during the first 12 months of holding the learner's permit (immediate family members are exempt).

Intermediate License


  • Must have held learner's permit for at least 6 months;
  • Must have completed 50 hours, 10 of which are at night, of supervised driving time.

Privileges and Restrictions

  • May drive unsupervised between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m.
  • May drive between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. only when supervised, unless they are traveling to or from church activities, work activities, or the license holder's school. Teen drivers may not drive with more than 1 passenger (family members exempt).

Class D license


  • Must be at least 17 years of age;
  • Must have held intermediate license for 6 months.

Violation Point Counts

The amount of points that go against your driver's license for specific types of violations.

6 Point Violations

  • Passing a Stopped School Bus;
  • Reckless Driving;
  • Aggressive Driving.

5 Point Violations

  • Speeding 15 to 19 MPH over posted limit;
  • Speeding 20 MPH or more over posted limit (may result in additional actions).

4 Point Violations

  • Speeding 10 to 14 MPH over posted limit.

3 Point Violations

  • Disregarding a Stop Sign or Red Light.

2 Point Violations

  • Other moving violations.

Time violations remain on record

Calculated points are credited at full point value for the first 12 months from the date of violation. After the initial 12 months have expired, the calculated points will be credited at one-half point value for the next 12 months. All actions are based upon total calculated points within a 24-month period following the offense.

If You Get 20 Points

  • Mandatory 10 month license suspension;
  • To become eligible for reinstatement, the driver must complete or have completed a behavior modification/attitudinal driving course within the previous 2 years.

If You Get 22 Points

  • Mandatory 12 month license suspension;
  • To become eligible for reinstatement, the driver must complete or have completed a behavior modification/attitudinal driving course within the previous 2 years.

A Delaware driver can receive a 3-point credit by taking a defensive driving course. This credit is applied to a driver's point total with the satisfactory completion of an approved defensive driving course. Defensive driving courses are valid for three years.

Insurance Requirements

All vehicles registered in the state are required to have the minimum liability insurance coverage of:

  • $15,000 for any 1 person injured in an accident;
  • $30,000 for all persons injured in any 1 accident; or
  • $10,000 for the property damage which may be done by any 1 accident.

Headlight Laws

You must dim your headlights from high to low beam when you are within 500 feet of an oncoming vehicle or within 200 feet of a vehicle traveling ahead of you.

You must use your headlights:

  • When driving after sunset or before sunrise;
  • Any other time you cannot see beyond 1000 feet;
  • Any time you use your windshield wipers.

There is no specific law allowing or prohibiting headlight flashing.

Implied Consent Laws

  • First Refusal - Revocation = 1 year (6 months mandatory).
  • Second Refusal (within 5 years) - Revocation = 18 months (mandatory).
  • Third or Subsequent Refusals (within 5 years) - Revocation = 24 months (mandatory).

DUI Penalties

First Offense

  • Up to 12 months imprisonment;
  • $500 - $1,500 fine;
  • License revocation term based on BAC;
    • (.08 - .14) - Revocation - 6 to 12 months;
    • (.15 - .19) - Revocation - 17 to 18 months;
    • (.20 or greater) - Revocation - 23 to 24 months.

Second Offense (within 10 years)

  • 60 days - 18 months imprisonment;
  • $750 - $2,500 fine;
  • License revocation term based on BAC;
    • (.08 - .14) - Revocation - 6 to 24 months;
    • (.15 - .19) (within 5 years) - Revocation - 12 to 24 months;
    • (.20 or greater) - Revocation - 24 to 30 months.

Third Offense (any time after 2 prior offenses) (Class G felony)

  • 1 - 2 years imprisonment;
  • Up to $5,000 fine;
  • License revocation term based on BAC;
    • (.08 - .14) (within 5 years) - Revocation - 12 to 24 months;
      • Driver must have completed Ignition Interlock program
    • (.15 - .19) - Revocation - 18 to 30 months;
    • (.20 or greater) - Revocation - 24 to 36 months.

Fourth Offense (any time after 3 prior offenses) (Class E felony)

  • 2 - 5 years imprisonment;
  • Up to $7,000 fine;
  • 60 months license revocation.

Fifth Offense (any time after 4 prior offenses) (Class E felony)

  • 3 - 5 years imprisonment;
  • Up to $10,000 fine;
  • 60 months license revocation.

Sixth Offense (any time after 5 prior offenses) (Class D felony)

  • 4 - 8 years imprisonment;
  • Up to $10,000 fine;
  • 60 months license revocation.

Seventh or Subsequent Offense (any time after 6 prior offenses) (Class C felony)

  • 5 - 15 years imprisonment;
  • Up to $15,000 fine;
  • 60 months license revocation.


Community Service

  • Court may impose community service hours up to maximum term of incarceration, or if no incarceration is provided by law, up to 100 hours.

Child Endangerment

  • A person who commits DWI with a person under the age of 17 in the vehicle shall be sentenced to the following enhancements:
    • First offense - an additional minimum o f$500 and not more than $1,500, and a minimum of 40 hours community service in a program benefitting children
    • Subsequent offenses - an additional minimum of $750 and not more than an additional $2,500, and a minimum of 80 hours community service in a program benefitting children.

Ignition Interlock

  • Court may order in addition to any other penalty, must remain in effect at least 1 year;
  • May be available as option to reinstate drivers license;
  • Ignition interlock participation mandatory for all subsequent offenders.

Open Container Law

Delaware does not have an open container law.

Red Light Violation Fines

  • Traditional enforcement: $75 - $230 fine;
  • Auto enforcement: $110 maximum fine, not a record or conviction.

Construction Zone Penalties

Numerous specified violations when workers are present are subject to no less than two times the original fine for a first offense.

Turn Signal Information

Signal your intention to turn or change lanes at least 300 feet but not more than one half mile in advance.

Hazard Light Information

Hazard light use is permitted for the purpose of warning other drivers of the presence of a vehicular traffic hazard requiring the exercise of unusual care in approaching, overtaking or passing.

Funeral Procession Right-of-Way Laws

  • Any vehicle not part of a funeral procession is prohibited from driving between or interfering with a funeral procession.
  • All vehicles in a funeral procession must be as closely-spaced as safely possible, and must have headlights and taillights lit.
  • Vehicles in a funeral procession must exercise due caution and yield the right-of-way to emergency vehicles or when directed by a police officer.

School Bus Laws


  • Vehicles are required to stop unless approaching from the front on a roadway or roadways with 4 or more lanes.


  • Failure to stop and remain stopped when required will result in a fine of $115 - $230, 30 - 60 days imprisonment, or both.

Bicyclist Passing Distance

A 3-foot minimum passing distance is required.

Motorcycle Laws


  • No person shall operate a motorcycle without being properly licensed, having passed an examination testing the person's ability to operate such a vehicle safely, or without completing the Motorcycle Rider Education Program as implemented by the DOT.
  • Riders who take an endorsement skills test on a three-wheeled motorcycle will have a three-wheeled motorcycle restriction, in addition to the motorcycle endorsement, limiting their operation to three-wheeled motorcycles only.

Protective Gear

  • Every person under age 19, operating or riding on a motorcycle, shall have a safety helmet and wear an eye protection approved by the DOT.


  • Not required in daytime.

Sharing the Road

  • Two motorcycles may travel side-by-side in a single lane.
  • Lane splitting is not addressed in state law.

Using the Shoulder to Pass

You may pass a left-turning vehicle on the right using the shoulder if necessary.

Passing Laws

Do Not Pass:

  • When approaching or upon a hill or curve;
  • When approaching within 100 feet of or traversing any intersection or railroad grade crossing;
  • When approaching within 100 feet of any bridge, viaduct, or tunnel.

When Being Passed:

  • Give way to the right in favor of the overtaking vehicle;
  • The overtaking vehicle may signal by honking its horn;
  • Do not increase the speed of your vehicle until completely passed by the overtaking vehicle.

Speed Limits

  • 65 mph on "all portions of Delaware State Route 1 located between the Red Lion Creek and the Appoquinimink River;"
  • 55 mph on four-lane roadways and divided roadways;
  • 50 mph on two-lane roadways;
  • 25 mph in any business or residential district;
  • 20 mph at school crossings where signs are in effect during specific time periods.

Safety Belt and Child Safety Seat Laws

Safety Belts

  • Occupants age 16 or older must wear safety belts.
  • Police may stop vehicles solely for belt law violations.
  • The fine for a first offense is $25.

Child Seats

  • Children 7 years and younger and less than 66 pounds must be in a child seat.
  • Children 8 - 15 years or at least 66 pounds must be restrained, and may use an adult safety belt.
  • Children younger than 12 and 65 inches or less must be restrained in a rear seat if a vehicle has a passenger airbag, unless the airbag has been deactivated or designed to accommodate smaller people. This requirement does not apply if there is no rear seat, or the rear seat is occupied by other children younger than 12 and 65 inches or less.
  • Police may stop vehicles solely for child seat law violations.
  • The fine for a first offense is $25.

Emergency Vehicle Laws

Move Over

When you see any of these vehicles displaying flashing lights while stopped on or adjacent to the roadway:

  • Emergency vehicle;
  • Tow truck;
  • Department of Transportation vehicle.

You must do the following:

  • On a road with two or more lanes traveling in the same direction, make a lane change into a lane not adjacent to the vehicle, if possible with due regard to safety and traffic conditions.
  • Proceed with caution and reduce the speed of the vehicle to a safe speed while passing such stationary vehicle, if changing lanes would be impossible or unsafe.


Do not follow any fire apparatus traveling in response to a fire alarm closer than 500 feet or drive into or park such vehicle within 500 feet where fire apparatus has stopped in answer to a fire alarm.

Collision Procedures

  • Stop at the scene or as close as possible without obstructing traffic more than necessary, and remain at the scene until all requirements are fulfilled.
  • If the collision resulted in damage to the driver's property only, the driver need not stay at the scene of the collision but must immediately report the damage to law enforcement.
  • Provide the following information to any other person involved in the accident, or to any police officer at the scene of the crash:
    • Driver's name and address;
    • Vehicle registration number;
    • Show driver's license upon request.
  • Render assistance
    • Undertake reasonable efforts to determine whether any person involved was injured or killed;
    • Provide assistance to any injured person, including transporting them or making arrangements for transportation to a hospital or doctor, if necessary or requested, or contact law enforcement or emergency personnel and await their arrival.
  • If the crash resulted in injury, death, or property damage of $500 or more, or it appears that the collision involved a driver whose physical ability is impaired as a result of alcohol or drugs, you must report the accident immediately to the appropriate police agency.