Highway safety efforts faltering due to complacency, group says

Posted on in Car Accidents

Too many state legislators have become lackadaisical about moving forward to try to enhance laws to improve traffic safety. While deaths from car accidents went down for approximately 10 years, they appear to be rising again. It's possible that motorists and pedestrians in California and elsewhere are being endangered by this seeming complacency.

This is the contention of a nonprofit highway safety group that monitors how states are doing on implementing 15 different common laws that affect traffic safety, including those governing distracted or intoxicated driving, teen motorist safety issues, and seatbelt use. In the first three quarters of last year, traffic fatalities were up by 7.1 percent over the same time period the previous year. That appears to be the biggest such leap to have occurred since 1975.

Two years ago, there were 22 newly enacted traffic safety laws nationwide. By 2012, only 10 additional laws had been enacted. Progress has stalled on getting more states to enact primary seatbelt laws, which allow law enforcement to make stops of drivers believed not to be wearing a seat belt, instead of only enforcing seat belt laws when motorists are stopped for other reasons. Last year, of the remaining 18 states without a primary seatbelt law, not one adopted a single law regarding seat belt safety.

The traffic safety organization says that six states are falling dangerously behind the rest of the nation in terms of traffic safety laws, while 14 states were doing fairly well in making efforts in this area. Surprisingly, not a single state in the country has adopted all of the traffic safety measures that the group recommends.

Source: USA Today, "Group: Strong road-safety laws are lagging in states," Larry Copeland, Jan. 15, 2013

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