Delaware General Assembly






WHEREAS, I, Sherman W. Tribbitt, Governor of the State of Delaware, did on November 21, 1973 proclaim that a State of Emergency existed within the entire State of Delaware by reason of an impending or actual acute shortage of useable energy reserves; and

WHEREAS, in light of that crisis and in conjunction with the proclaiming of the State Emergency, the 127th General Assembly, on November 19, 1973, by virtue of the passage of Senate Bill No. 397, as amended, which was signed into law on November 20, 1973, authorized and empowered the Governor to promulgate reasonable orders, rules and regulations as he deemed necessary, to protect the public health, safety and welfare, and to bring the emergency situation under control within the acknowledged limitation of his powers as one Governor of one State; and

WHEREAS, Senate Bill No. 397, as amended, authorizes the Governor to, inter aria, establish and implement standards for the conservation and consumption of energy reserves as well as modify existing standards and requirements affecting the use of energy reserves; and

WHEREAS, pursuant thereto, Executive Order No. 29 was issued on November 21, 1973, declaring that 50 miles per hour was the maximum speed any motor vehicle was permitted to travel on the highways of this State; and

WHEREAS, the Ninety-Third Congress of the United States of America passed H.R. 11372, the "Emergency Highway Energy Conservation Act", which became law upon the President's signature on January 2, 1974; and

WHEREAS, the "Emergency Highway Energy Conservation Act" establishes a national maximum speed limit of 55 miles per hour to conserve fuel during periods of current and imminent fuel shortages; and

WHEREAS, as Governor, I deem it desirable and necessary that the maximum speed limit on Delaware's highways conform with the maximum speed limit in our neighboring states who have or are complying with the "Emergency Highway Energy Conservation Act"; and

WHEREAS, the "Emergency Highway Energy Conservation Act" provides that the entire cost of modification of the signing of the Federal-aid highways within Delaware due to a change made after November 1, 1973, reducing speed limits to conserve fuel, will be paid by the Federal Government; and

WHEREAS, a substantial conservation of useable energy reserves can be realized by establishing a maximum speed limit of 55 miles per hour on roads and highways within Delaware; and

WHEREAS, in view of the impending, eminent or actual acute shortage in the useable energy reserves in the State, such conservation is reasonable and necessary to protect the health, safety and welfare of the public;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Sherman W. Tribbitt, by the authority vested in me as Governor of the State of Delaware, determine that the following action is reasonable and necessary in view of the emergency situation, and do hereby order and declare as follows :

1. Pursuant to the authority granted to the Governor to establish and implement standards or modify existing standards or requirements affecting the conservation of energy reserves, 55 miles per hour is declared to be the maximum reasonable speed for the purposes of Subchapter VIII, Chapter 41, Title 21, Delaware Code Annotated.

2. Except where a lesser maximum speed is required by or established in accordance with Chapter 41, Title 21, Delaware Code Annotated, 55 miles an hour is declared to be the maximum lawful speed on the highways within the State of Delaware, and subject only to the exemption granted by law to authorized emergency vehicles, no person shall operate a motor vehicle in excess of 55 miles per hour on any highway within this State.

3. Where no special hazard exists, 55 miles per hour shall be the maximum lawful speed and any speed in excess of 55 miles per hour shall be absolute evidence that the speed is not reason• able or prudent and that it is unlawful.

4. Notwithstanding the provisions of Chapter 41, Title 21, Delaware Code Annotated, or of any provision of State or local law or authority, no maximum speed limits may be established by any State or local authority on any highway within the State which shall be greater than 55 miles per hour and the provisions of this Order shall apply notwithstanding any greater maximum speed limits which may be lawfully in effect prior to the effective date of this Order.

5. The Department of Highways and Transportation and all other appropriate government authorities are directed to prepare and post appropriate signs on the affected highways giving notice of the maximum speed limit declared herein.

0. Pursuant to Section 3128, Chapter 31, Title 20, Delaware Code Annotated, any person who violates any provision of this Order, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be punished in the discretion of the Court.

0. This Order shall become effective at 12:01 A.M., Wednesday, January 30, 1974.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I, SHERMAN W. TRIBBITT, Governor of the State of Delaware, have hereunto set my hand and caused the Great Seal of the said State to be hereunto affixed at Dover this 24th day of January

(GREAT SEAL) in the year of our Lord, one thousand nine hundred and seventy-four, and of the Independence of the United States of America, the one hundred and ninety-eighth.


Attest: ROBERT H. REED, Secretary of State