States Rated on Traffic Safety Laws
By David A. Kolman
Report cards have been issued and many states have received poor grades for their performance when it comes to adopting and maintaining model traffic safety laws.
That’s according to the 2010 Roadmap to State Highway Safety Laws report, published by Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety – an alliance of consumer, health and safety groups and insurance companies and agents working together to make America’s roads safer.
This year’s report card, the seventh annual, also took a look at three particular areas in need of stronger enforcement: text messaging, graduated driver licensing (GDL) programs and ignition interlock laws for drunk driving offenders. Other areas included as part of the 15 model laws evaluated for promoting safer roads were seat belt, booster seat and motorcycle helmet measures.
The report found that not one state has enacted all 15 of laws recommended by the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, and many lost ground this year. Six states which last year earned green ratings — the highest grade for model performance, fell to yellow ratings. Another six states fell from the yellow to the worst — performing red rating.
On the positive side, one state was added to the green category and one state improved from red to yellow. The ratings are solely based on whether a state had adopted a law as defined in the report, and not on any evaluation of a state’s highway safety education enforcement program or on fatality rates.
The best states (green), in order, were: District Of Columbia, New Jersey, Illinois, Maryland, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Tennessee, Minnesota, California and Washington.
The worst states (red), in order: South Dakota, Arizona (new), North Dakota, Virginia (new), Vermont (new), Pennsylvania (new), Ohio (new) and Nebraska (new).
Hopefully, the states will take their report cards seriously and do what needs to be done to get on board with the 15 model laws the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety believes can help reduce the deaths and injuries caused by accidents on our roadways.