2012 Highway Deaths Up - State Legislative Action Down

Eleventh Annual Roadmap Report Highlights Dangerous Gaps in State Traffic Safety Laws

Jan 22, 2014, 11:30 ET from Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety

WASHINGTON, Jan. 22, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety (Advocates) today released the 2014 Roadmap of State Highway Safety Laws. This annual report grades all 50 states and the District of Columbia on 15 basic traffic safety laws.  It also focuses on progress these past 25 years and deadly gaps that put drivers and children in every state at risk.

"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, Advocates' President. "The Roadmap Report provides practical and proven solutions to reduce the highway death and injury toll."

The Report evaluates 15 optimal laws and gives states ratings of: Green (Good); Yellow (Caution); and Red (Danger).  New in this year's report is the inclusion of a primary enforcement seat belt law covering passengers in the rear seating positions. A state without a primary enforcement law covering all passengers is ineligible for a green rating. New state laws enacted in 2013 are:

  • Primary Enforcement of Seat Belts: WV (front) and HI (rear); (17 states still need front seat; 33 states need rear seat);
  • All-Rider Motorcycle Helmet Law:  None adopted or repealed; (31 states still need);
  • Booster Seats (ages 4 through 7):  None adopted; (19 states still need);
  • Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) for teen drivers: HI, MD, UT (cell phone restriction) and TX (supervised driving requirement); (No state meets all the criteria/174 laws still needed);
  • Impaired Driving:  ME, TN (ignition interlock devices for all offenders); (39 states and DC are missing laws/46 laws still needed);
  • All-Driver Text Messaging Restriction: HI, VA; (13 states still need).

"The tragic and life-altering consequences of motor vehicle crashes are predictable and preventable," said Dr. Georges Benjamin, Executive Director, American Public Health Association. 

The states with the best ratings are DC, IL, OR, DE, HI, IN, ME, RI, WA, CA and LA. Those with the worst ratings are SD, MS, AZ, IA, MT, NE, AL, FL, NH, ND and WY.

"It is time for state elected officials to get in the driver's seat and lead the way to safer roads," said Joan Claybrook, Consumer Co-Chair of Advocates.

The 2014 Roadmap of State Highway Safety Laws, speaker statements and the news conference webcast can be found at www.saferoads.org

SOURCE Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety