States Have Grown Complacent with Highway Safety

On behalf of Brown & Crouppen, P.C. posted in Motor Vehicle Accident on Saturday, January 19, 2013

The Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety (AHAS) released their 2013 roadmap of state highway safety laws. It is their tenth annual roadmap, which grades each state and accesses the progress they have made on highway safety laws. The AHAS review 15 traffic safety areas to determine where the states still need to improve highway safety.

Troublingly, highway deaths have increased from the last few years, and according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) preliminary data, motor vehicle accident fatalities had a 7.1 percent increase during the first nine months of the year as compared to the same period of 2011. This represents largest increase for that period since 1975. In 2011, highway deaths decreased by 1.9 percent.

The report reminds everyone of the tremendous toll highway crashes have on the nation, with over 32,000 people killed, 2.2 million injured, costing society more than $230 billion every year. In 2011 in Missouri alone, motor vehicle crashes killed 784 people and cost $4.74 billion.

AHAS find that many states could do more by passing legislation that would address safety issues like teen driving, requiring all DUI offenders to use ignition interlocks, stronger distracted driving laws and better occupant protection programs.

They applauded the federal government’s MAP-21 law that makes regulatory changes to many areas of transportation, from safety features on vehicles to better regulation of truck and bus companies.

The report found states enacted only 10 highway safety laws last year. In 2010 and 2011, states created 38 new laws. The AHAS has 15 basic safety laws that it recommends each state adopt. They note that the overall, the states need to enact 316 new laws to meet their basic guidelines.

Source: USA Today, “Group: Strong road-safety laws are lagging in states,” Larry Copeland, January 15, 2013

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