Discover How Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety Work to Improve Road Safety
Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, an alliance of safety, consumer, medical and insurance professionals, released their 2018 Roadmap of State Highway Safety Laws recently, which highlights the shortcomings of each state’s traffic safety laws. State laws are reviewed, and then each state is given a grade. This year, Colorado is one of 31 states highlighted as needing more work to close gaps in what the organization considers optimal laws.
Group Notes That Colorado Is Just Above the “Danger Zone”
The mission of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, also referred to as Advocates, is to encourage every state to adopt stricter federal and state laws with the goal of preventing auto accidents and reducing deaths and injuries on state roads and highways. What this organization would like to see is an end to the 100 vehicle fatalities that occur across this country daily. Also, the group hopes that stricter state and federal laws will also reduce, if not eliminate, the approximate 6500 injuries a day that occurs due to accidents.
Over the past 15 years, Advocates has identified over 400 laws that should be implemented in all states. The 2018 Roadmap Report reviews those laws and highlights 16 optimal laws that they say are lifesaving. Currently, not a single state has all 16 of these laws according to the organization.
Where does Colorado stand in this report? Well, for 2018, Colorado received a grade of 7 out of 16, which translates into a “caution” grade. However, the report also noted that the Centennial State is hovering near what it calls the “danger” category as it’s final grade was just one point above danger. The Colorado safety issues Advocates highlights include seatbelt use, distracted driving, and the lack of helmet use among motorcyclists.
When it comes to distracted driving, Advocates recently posted a message on Twitter pushing Colorado to adopt a Senate bill that will strengthen the state’s laws against using electronic devices while driving, and for a good reason. When it comes to distracted driving, it’s not only Advocates that are pushing for tougher laws; safety officials across the board want more restrictive legislation due to an uptick in deaths. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), every day distracted driving accidents kill approximately nine people and injure more than 1,000 people. How bad is distracted driving in Colorado? The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) reports that on average, 40 crashes a day are caused by distracted driving, and in 2016, those crashes resulted in 67 deaths.
Lack of Seatbelt Safety and Helmet Use a Concern for Coloradans
While distracted driving was an issue for Colorado in the Advocates report, it’s the state’s seat belt laws and motorcycle helmet laws that were highlighted as needing to be greatly improved. The report hones in on the fact that while Colorado mandates that all front seat passengers wear a seat belt, it’s a secondary offense. What this means is that you can’t be ticketed for not wearing a seat belt unless you are found not to be wearing one after being stopped for another offense. According to a recent news report, 186 people killed last year in car crashes were not wearing a seatbelt. This is nothing but risky behavior and can be stopped by simply taking three seconds to fasten a seat belt.
When it comes to motorcyclists and safety, authorities say deaths are on the rise due to not wearing a helmet. Though Colorado law stipulates that those 18 years of age and older don’t have to wear a helmet, common sense should come into play. In 2016, 125 riders were killed in motorcycle accidents in Colorado, and authorities say 61 percent of those killed were not wearing a helmet.
The 2018 Roadmap of State Highway Safety Laws gives insight into how each state is doing when it comes to traffic safety. It also notes where states need improvement, and hopefully, officials in Colorado will take note and act on the report’s recommendations.