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Monday, February 26, 2024

Laws and Safety

The Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety released its 13th annual report card grading all 50 states and the District of Columbia on their adoption of safe driving laws. Delaware topped the list, having enacted 12 of the 15 basic highway safety laws, according to the organization.

The “2016 Roadmap of State Highway Safety Laws” will focus on the “missing laws” and “missing leadership” in state capitals despite a projected 8 percent increase in deaths during the first half of 2015 compared to 2014. Last year, there were fewer optimal traffic safety laws passed in state legislatures than in the history of the publication of the Roadmap report.

The fifteen essential laws are divided into several categories dealing with occupant protection, child passenger safety, teen driving, impaired driving and distracted driving:

Primary enforcement front seat belt law
Primary enforcement rear seat belt law
All-rider motorcycle helmet law
Booster seat law for children ages four through seven
Minimum age 16 for learner’s permit
Six-month holding period provision for learner’s permit holders
Required 30-50 hours of supervised driving for learner’s permit holders
Nighttime driving restriction for new drivers
Passenger restriction for new drivers
Cell phone restriction for beginning teen drivers
Age 18 for unrestricted license
Ignition interlock devices for all convicted drunk driving offenders
Enhanced penalties for impaired drivers who endanger a minor
Open container law
All-driver text messaging restriction

The report assigns ratings of green, yellow and red to each state. To achieve a green rating, a state must have primary enforcement of both seat belt laws and have passed 11 to 15 of the above laws or 9 or more laws including both primary enforcement seat belt laws and an all-rider helmet law. The most common laws omitted by the states with the best rankings are the all-rider motorcycle helmet law, the nighttime restriction for teen drivers, and the minimum ages for learner’s permits and unrestricted licenses.

The best states in this year’s ranking are:

Delaware, 12 laws
District of Columbia, 12 laws
Illinois, 12 laws
Oregon, 12 laws
Hawaii, 11 laws
Indiana, 11 laws
Maine, 11 laws
Rhode Island, 11 laws
Washington, 11 laws
California, 9 laws
Louisiana, 9 laws

States receive a red rating if they have enacted fewer than seven of the above laws without both primary enforcement front and rear seat belt laws.

The worst states in this year’s ranking are:

South Dakota, 2 laws
Arizona, 5 laws
Iowa, 5 laws
Montana, 5 laws
Nebraska, 5 laws
Wyoming, 5 laws
Mississippi, 6 laws
Florida, 6 laws
North Dakota, 6 laws