Among the laws promoted by Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety is primary enforcement of mandatory seat belts for front and rear occupants. Photo courtesy of NHTSA.
The states of Washington, Oregon, Louisiana, Delaware and Rhode Island outshine all other states in a new report assessing all 50 states’ commitment to making the roads safer through the adoption of strict traffic safety laws.
Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, which released the annual report, pushes for the adoption of 15 specified traffic safety laws. They include primary enforcement for seat belts, ignition interlock devices for all DUI offenders, and text-messaging restrictions for all drivers. The organization rated each state based on how many of these laws are on the books.
In addition to the five states that earned a “green” rating — the best overall score — Washington, D.C. also came out on top. The traffic safety advocacy group praised them for “showing significant advancement toward adopting all of Advocates’ recommended optimal laws.”
A total of 28 states drew a “yellow” rating, indicating that in Advocates' view they need improvement because of gaps in the recommended laws. These states include Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Michigan, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
Seventeen states drew a “red” rating, indicating they are “dangerously behind" in adoption of the recommended laws, according to Advocates. They are Arizona, Florida, Idaho, Iowa, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Vermont, Virginia and Wyoming.
In 2015, 35,092 people in the U.S. were killed in motor vehicle crashes.
“We all must work together now to stem the growing death and injury toll, and we cannot forget that state adoption of comprehensive traffic safety laws is the most effective countermeasure to avert crashes, save lives, prevent injuries and reduce economic costs to the public and to the government,” wrote Jacqueline S. Gillan, president of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, in the report’s introduction.
To download the Advocates study, click here.