Highway Safety Advocates Call for More Traffic Safety Laws

Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety (Advocates)—an alliance of consumer, medical, public health, and safety groups and insurance companies—recently released its 2016 Roadmap of State Highway Safety Laws. In its thirteenth annual report, the group called on state lawmakers to pass more laws related to seatbelt and helmet use, child passenger safety, distracted driving, graduated driving privileges for teens, and impaired driving.
The report grades each state based on what Advocates consider to be optimal laws in each category. For impaired driving these include:
Mandatory ignition interlocks for all convicted drunk drivers
Separate or enhanced penalties for impaired drivers who endanger a minor
Laws that prohibit all open containers and consumption of alcohol in motor vehicles, including among passengers
The report notes that only 15 states have all three laws in place—earning them a “green” rating from the organization—while 9 states have an interlock law along with one of the other measures, equating to a “yellow” rating. As with organizations like Mothers Against Drunk Driving, Advocates emphasizes the use of ignition interlocks and automatically gives a “red” rating to any state that does not require the devices for all convicted drunk drivers. Currently only half of all states meet Advocates’ standard for interlocks. In addition, the organization noted that only two states—Texas and West Virginia—added one of the three optimal laws since the previous year’s report.
Advocates is urging lawmakers to step up efforts to address traffic safety in large part because the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has said that preliminary numbers indicate that traffic deaths—including those tied to alcohol-related crashes—rose in 2015, as much as 8.1% during the first six months of the year.
Read the entire 2016 Roadmap of State Highway Safety Laws report here.