Advocacy Group Rates Best And Worst States For Highway Safety

Safest States
Image Credit: Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety

This week, the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety released the 2014 Roadmap of State Highway Safety Laws.  The report assigns traffic safety law grades to all 50 states, including the District of Columbia.

“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 annual reports uses 15 standards to evaluate individual state’s safety laws.  This year, the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety added the following standards: seat belt enforcement, motorcycle helmet laws, booster seat, teen driving, impaired driving and text messaging restrictions.

  •   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  •   All-Rider Motorcycle Helmet Law: None adopted or repealed; (31 states still need);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 aremissing 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.

After evaluating each state’s individual safety laws, the agency assigns each state a rating of: Green (Good); Yellow (Caution); and Red (Danger).

If a state does not have primary laws that cover all passengers, that state is ineligible for a green rating.

According to the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, the states with the best safety ratings are: DC, IL, OR, DE, HI, IN, ME, RI, WA, CA and LA and the states with the worst safety 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.

Safest States
Image Credit: Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety

From Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety:

Best States

State Performance in 2013

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA12 laws. Missing nighttime and cell phone restrictions for teen drivers, as well as an ignition interlock law.

ILLINOIS  12 laws. Missing an all-rider motorcycle helmet law, minimum age 16 for a learner’s permit and nighttime restriction for teen drivers.

OREGON  12 laws. Missing minimum age 16 for learner’s permit, nighttime driving provision and age 18 for unrestricted license for teen drivers.

DELAWARE  11 laws. Missing an all-rider motorcycle helmet law, age 18 for unrestricted license for teen drivers, an ignition interlock law, and open container law.

HAWAII  11 Laws. Missing an all-rider motorcycle helmet law, minimum age 16 for learner’s permit, nighttime restriction provision, and age 18 for unrestricted license for teen drivers.

INDIANA  11 laws. Missing an all-rider motorcycle helmet law, minimum age 16 for learner’s permit, nighttime restriction provision, and ignition interlock law.

MAINE  11 laws. Missing an all-rider motorcycle helmet law, minimum age 16 for learner’s permit, nighttime restriction provision, and age 18 for unrestricted license for teen drivers.

RHODE ISLAND  11 laws. Missing an all-rider motorcycle helmet law, nighttime driving provision and age 18 for unrestricted license for teen drivers, and an ignition interlock law.

WASHINGTON  11 laws. Missing minimum age 16 for learner’s permit, nighttime and passenger restrictions and age 18 for unrestricted license for teen drivers.

CALIFORNIA 9 laws. Missing a minimum age 16 for learner’s permit, nighttime, passenger and cell phone restrictions, age 18 for unrestricted license for teen drivers, and an ignition interlock law.

LOUISIANA 9 laws. Missing booster seat law, minimum age 16 for learner’s permit, nighttime and passenger restrictions, age 18 for unrestricted license for teen drivers, and an open container law.

Worst States

The red rating indicates that the following states are dangerously behind in the adoption of Advocates’ optimal laws. States receive a red rating if they have fewer than 7 laws, without both primary enforcement front and rear seat belt laws.

SOUTH DAKOTA  Only 2 laws. Missing front and rear primary enforcement seat belt law, all-rider motorcycle helmet law, booster seat law, 6 of the 7 teen driving provisions, an ignition interlock law, a child endangerment law and an all-driver text messaging restriction.

MISSISSIPPI  Only 4 laws. Missing rear primary enforcement seat belt law, booster seat law, 6 of the 7 teen driving provisions, an ignition interlock law, an open container law, and an all-driver text messaging restriction.

ARIZONA  Only 5 laws. Missing front and rear primary enforcement seat belt law, all-rider motorcycle helmet law, 6 of the 7 teen driving provisions, and an all-driver text messaging restriction.

IOWA  Only 5 laws. Missing rear primary enforcement seat belt law, all-rider motorcycle helmet law, booster seat law, 5 of the 7 teen driving provisions, an ignition interlock law, and an all-driver text messaging restriction.

MONTANA  Only 5 laws. Missing front and rear primary enforcement seat belt law, all-rider motorcycle helmet law, booster seat law, 4 of the 7 teen driving provisions, an ignition interlock law, and an all-driver text messaging restriction.

NEBRASKA  Only 5 laws. Missing front and rear primary enforcement seat belt law, booster seat law, 6 of the 7 teen driving provisions, and an all-driver text messaging restriction.

ALABAMA  Only 6 laws. Missing rear primary enforcement seat belt law, booster seat law, 6 of the 7 teen driving provisions, and an ignition interlock law.

FLORIDA  Only 6 laws. Missing rear primary enforcement seat belt law, all-rider motorcycle helmet law, booster seat law, 4 of the 7 teen driving provisions, an ignition interlock law, and an all-driver text messaging restriction.

NEW HAMPSHIRE  Only 6 laws. Missing front and rear primary enforcement seat belt law, all-rider motorcycle helmet law, booster seat law, 4 of the 7 teen driving provisions and an ignition interlock law.

NORTH DAKOTA  Only 6 laws. Missing front and rear primary enforcement seat belt law, all-rider motorcycle helmet law, booster seat law, 4 of the 7 teen driving provisions and an ignition interlock law.

WYOMING  Only 6 laws. Missing front and rear primary enforcement seat belt law, all-rider motorcycle helmet law, 4 of the 7 teen driving provisions, an ignition interlock law, and an open container law.