'Roadmap' Report Rates Best, Worst States for Traffic Laws

Safetymap

How safe is your state to drive in? The Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety group this month released its annual report rating all 50 states and the District of Columbia on 15 basic traffic-safety laws. The "2014 Roadmap of State Highway Safety Laws" gives states a rating of Green (good), Yellow (caution) or Red (danger). A new feature of the 2014 Roadmap Report evaluates whether states have a primary-enforcement (meaning police can stop drivers for that offense alone) seat-belt law covering backseat passengers; any state without such a law was ineligible for a Green rating.

NHTSA: Road Deaths Up for First Time Since 2005

The report comes at a time when traffic fatalities have seen their first increase in several years. In November, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that 2012's 33,561 highway deaths represented a 3.3 percent year-over-year spike, the first since 2005. Generally over the past seven decades, traffic fatalities have been on the decline. Between 1989 and 2012, the death toll declined by 12,000, a nearly 27 percent dip.

"The tragic and life-altering consequences of motor vehicle crashes are predictable and preventable," Dr. Georges Benjamin, American Public Health Association executive director, said in a statement.

New state laws enacted in 2013 include:

  • Primary enforcement of seat belts in West Virginia for front passengers and Hawaii for rear passengers, with 17 states still lacking front-seat laws and 33 backseat laws.
  • Booster seats for children ages 4 to 7, none adopted and 19 states still without.
  • Graduated driver licensing for teen drivers in Hawaii, Maryland and Utah (with cell-phone restrictions) and Texas (with supervised-driving requirements).
  • Impaired driving in Maine and Tennessee with ignition-interlock devices for all offenders. Still lacking laws are 39 states and the District of Columbia.
  • All-driver text-messaging restriction for Hawaii and Virginia with 13 states still lacking such a law.

To achieve a Green rating, states must have 11 to 15 laws, including primary-enforcement seat-belt laws for front and rear passengers, or nine or more laws including both primary-enforcement seat-belt laws and an all-rider helmet law for motorcyclists. The Red rating means states are "dangerously behind" in adoption of optimal laws, having fewer than seven laws and without primary-enforcement front and rear seat-belt laws. The best (Green) and worst (Red) states for traffic laws, followed by their number of laws, are as follows (all states not listed are designated as Yellow):

GREEN STATES

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

RED STATES

  • South Dakota, two
  • Mississippi, four
  • Arizona, five
  • Iowa, five
  • Montana, five
  • Nebraska, five
  • Alabama, six
  • Florida, six
  • New Hampshire, six
  • North Dakota, six
  • Wyoming, six
By Matt Schmitz | January 27, 2014 | Comments (7)

Comments 

J

Can we also get the list of the "yellow" states?

rperez

Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety is a lobbying group consisting of insurance companies and "consumer advocates." Among the latter is Joan Claybrook, which should tell you everything you need to know about this organization.

Complete reports are available at www.saferoads.org.

dont like big brother

you have the right to kill a fetus but not the right to wear or not to wear seatbelts i believe in the law for highways and childrens seats but i drove for many years with no seatbelt and the worst thing happened to me was a drunk running a stop sign at 50 mph and hitting me and pushing me into a building the paramedics told my wife if i would have had seatbelts on i would have been cut in half as it was i was three months in the hospital

Mark

Glad to live in a red state. We don't need more laws. We already have too many.

a

List of yellow states? Ummm... Just look at the map.

Jay

"Killing a fetus" doesn't make insurance rates go up; medical bills associated with attempted suicide by seatbeltlessness do.

J

a,

I can read the map. But said map does not have the number of laws like how they have listed the green and red states, do they?

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