Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, a group that annually grades states for their regulatory efforts to improve traffic safety, awarded the highest scores this year to Illinois, Oregon and the city of Washington, D.C. The state with the lowest score was South Dakota.
In its newly released report, titled “2014 Roadmap of State Highway Safety Laws,” the safety group recommends universal adoption of 15 state safety laws. They include an all-driver text messaging restriction, a booster seat requirement for children 4-7, an all-rider motorcycle helmet requirement, graduated driver licensing (GDL) provisions, an ignition interlock device requirement for all impaired driving offenders, and primary enforcement of seat belts – front and rear.
The group assigned each state a rating of green (good), yellow (caution) or red (danger), based on the state’s total safety score. That score hinged on how many of those laws the state has adopted. A state without a primary enforcement seat belt law covering all passengers is ineligible for a green rating.
No state has all 15 laws on the books yet. However, Illinois, Oregon and the District of Columbia each have 12 of the laws. Delaware, Hawaii, Indiana, Maine, Rhode Island and Washington are all close behind with 11. California and Louisiana each have nine.
At the other end of the spectrum, South Dakota has just two of the recommended laws on its books. The state lacks front and rear primary enforcement seat belt laws, an all-rider motorcycle helmet law, a booster seat law, six of the seven recommended teen driving provisions, an ignition interlock law, a child endangerment law and an all-driver text messaging restriction.
Mississippi has just four of the laws, lacking a rear primary enforcement seat belt law, a booster seat law, six of the seven teen driving provisions, an ignition interlock law, an open container law and an all-driver text messaging restriction.
“We release this report at a critical time as the nation’s motor vehicle fatalities climbed for the first time in 2012 after six consecutive years of decline,” said Jackie Gillan, the organization’s president. “The Roadmap Report provides practical and proven solutions to reduce the highway death and injury toll.”
Click here to download the full report.