With 37,000 people dying on our roads each year, how many lifesaving laws does each state lack?
This report rates all 50 states and the District of Columbia (DC) on their progress toward enacting 16 fundamental traffic safety laws
divided into 5 issue sections: Occupant Protection, Child Passenger Safety, Teen Driving, Impairing Driving, and Distracted Driving
Best States: Only 6 states and DC (CA, DE, LA, OR, RI and WA) received a Green rating, showing significant advancement toward adopting all of Advocates’ recommended optimal laws. The best state is (RI) with 12 laws.
Worst States: 11 states (AZ, FL, MO, MT, NE, NH, OH, SD, VT, VA and WY) received a Red rating, indicating these states fall dangerously behind in adopting recommended traffic laws. The worst state is South Dakota with only 2 laws.
Florida has only 5 of the safety laws recommended. Laws missing are: rear primary enforcement seat belt, all-rider motorcycle helmet, rear facing through age 2, booster seat law, minimum age 16 for learner’s permit, nighttime and passenger restrictions and age 18 for unrestricted license for teen drivers, ignition interlocks for all offenders, all-driver text messaging restriction and GDL cell phone restriction laws. Florida’s annual economic cost due to motor vehicle crashes is 10.75 billion dollars.
Automated vehicles may offer a promise of reducing crashes, deaths and injuries in the future. The new Roadmap report is a call to action for state elected officials to close lethal loopholes with proven effective laws. Additionally, the U.S. Department of Transportation will be called on to require existing, proven safety technologies in all new vehicles to prevent and mitigate crashes. The State Farm funded Governor’s Highway Safety Association report
on preparing automatic vehicles and traffic safety issues for states provides additional recommendations.
Every single state has gaps in their traffic laws. An additional 406 laws still need to be adopted in all states and DC to fully meet Advocates’ recommended optimal safety laws in this report.
Here are some tips from State Farm to make your daily traffic commute safer:
- Wear appropriate footwear: Your shoes could affect your ability to control your car. Open-heel shoes can slip off and wedge under pedals, while high heels can catch on floor mats, delaying acceleration or braking. Wear sneakers or low-heeled shoes while driving—and slip on your work shoes once you’ve arrived.
- Leave early: If you have a long commute, build a few extra minutes into your schedule so you can stick to the speed limit and accommodate for heavy traffic.
- Drive distraction-free: Avoid anything that takes your hands off the wheel, your eyes off the road, and your mind off driving. This includes using your cell phone (even hands-free devices), grooming, changing radio stations, and other common distractions.
- Avoid Aggressive driving: Curb your road rage and avoid becoming the target of an aggressive driver.