<p><em>Photo via Jusmar/Wikimedia.</em></p>

California, Delaware, Louisiana, Oregon, Rhode Island, Washington, and the District of Columbia achieved the best ratings in the "2018 Roadmap of State Highway Safety Laws," which grades states on the adoption of 16 fundamental traffic safety laws.

The states that ranked worst in terms of the number of essential laws enacted include Arizona, Florida, Idaho, Iowa, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Ohio, South Dakota, Vermont, Virginia, and Wyoming.

The states' report card — now in its 15th year — was complied by Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety. The report identifies 407 dangerous gaps in traffic safety laws nationwide, ranging from enforcement of seat belts to cell phone restrictions. It is intended to serve as a roadmap for lawmakers to take action to curb preventable safety hazards on America's streets and highways, specifically now, as 2018 legislative sessions are getting underway.

The report reveals the following gaps in state laws:

  • Primary Enforcement of Seat Belts: 16 states lack an optimal primary enforcement seat belt law for front seat passengers, while 31 states need an optimal primary enforcement seat belt law for rear seat passengers.
  • All-Rider Motorcycle Helmet Law: 31 states need an optimal all-rider motorcycle helmet law.
  • Rear Facing Through Age Two: 41 states and D.C. are missing a rear facing through age two child protection law.
  • Booster Seats: 35 states and DC need an optimal booster seat law.
  • Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) for Teen Drivers: 192 GDL laws need to be adopted to ensure the safety of novice drivers. No state has all six optimal provisions of a GDL law.
  • Impaired Driving: 32 important impaired driving laws covering all-offender ignition interlocks, child endangerment, and open containers are needed.
  • All-Driver Text Messaging Restriction: seven states need an optimal all-driver texting ban.
  • Graduated Driver's Licensing Cell Phone Restriction: 19 states and D.C. lack optimal laws restricting cell phone use for teen drivers.

The report also highlights the need for advanced motor vehicle technologies in all cars such as collision avoidance systems and automated speed and red-light enforcement, as well as the means to improve large truck and rear seat safety.

Nearly 100 people are killed and 6,500 more are injured in motor vehicle accidents every day. Advocates for Auto and Highway Safety believe these staggering statistics can be reduced through a dual pronged approach: By enacting proven safety laws and equipping vehicles with advanced technology.