Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety rates states by their driving safety lawsColorado is not one of the safest states when it comes to highway safety laws, but neither is it among the most dangerous, according to the 2014 Roadmap of State Highway Safety Laws. The annual report, published by Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, grades all 50 states plus the District of Columbia on 15 basic traffic-safety laws, as a press release reports. The group also draws attention to progress over the last 25 years and the “deadly gaps” in laws that put drivers and passengers in every state at risk.

According to the report, Colorado had 472 traffic fatalities in 2012, with an annual economic cost due to motor vehicle crashes of $3.28 billion. The state has seen 13,941 traffic fatalities since 1989. According to the report, Colorado needs to adopt the following laws in order to better protect those on the roads from danger:

  • Primary Enforcement Seat Belt Law (Front and Rear)
  • All-Rider Motorcycle Helmet Law
  • Graduated Driver’s License (GDL): Minimum Age of 16 for Learner’s Permit
  • GDL: Nighttime Restriction Provision (Without Secondary Enforcement)
  • GDL: Passenger Restriction Provision (Without Secondary Enforcement)
  • GDL: Age 18 for Unrestricted License.

As Pete Bigelow writes for AOL Autos, more Americans are dying in car crashes, but fewer laws are being passed to protect them. He writes that 33,561 people were killed on U.S. roads in 2013 (an increase of 3.3% over 2012, and the first such increase after six consecutive years of decline in the number of auto accidents, as the report points out). But in 2013, lawmakers passed only 10 new safety laws, 22 fewer than the previous year. And not one of the 50 states has all of the safety laws that the group recommends, Bigelow reports.

The report says that states need to adopt a total of 33 new laws in order for the roads to be safer:

  • 17 states still need an optimal primary enforcement seat belt law for front seat passengers;
  • 33 states still need an optimal primary enforcement seat belt law for rear seat passengers;
  • 31 states still need an optimal all-rider motorcycle helmet law;
  • 19 states still need an optimal booster seat law;
  • No state meets all the criteria of the group’s recommended Graduated Drivers License (GDL) program (174 laws are still needed);
  • 39 states and D.C. are missing one of more critical impaired-driving laws (46 laws still needed); and,
  • 13 states still need an optimal all-driver text messaging restriction.

The 2014 report says the states with the most driving-safety laws are California, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Maine, Oregon, Rhode Island and Washington, plus the District of Columbia. And the states getting the worst grades, for a “dangerous lack of basic safety laws,” include Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Iowa, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming.

“It is time for state-elected officials to get in the driver’s seat and lead the way to safer roads,” said Joan Claybrook, the group’s consumer co-chair. Dr. Georges Benjamin, executive director of the American Public Health Association, agrees. “The tragic and life-altering consequences of motor vehicle crashes are predictable and preventable,” he said.

Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety is an alliance of consumer, health and safety groups, as well as insurance companies, all working together for safer roads. The organization makes it easy to find your members of Congress in order to ask them to help pass the missing laws.

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