Idaho among majority of states that receive
Most states, including Idaho, earned average grades in a nationwide report card that tracks state progress toward enacting key traffic safety laws. The annual report was issued recently by the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety (Advocates).
In its fifth annual report, the “2008 Roadmap to State Highway Safety Laws,” the group graded each state and the District of Columbia based on their adoption of 15 recommended traffic laws related to seat belts, child booster seats and motorcycle helmet use. It also evaluated efforts to strengthen teenage driving and impaired driving statutes.
Advocates is an alliance of consumer, health and safety groups and insurance companies and agents that began a yearly review of selected, basic traffic safety laws in 2004.
“Idaho is making progress toward improving highway safety laws, but there are still too many gaps,” said Mary Hunter, ITD’s Highway Safety manager. “The state reported 267 people killed in traffic crashes in 2006. These people were fathers, mothers, siblings and friends. Those motor vehicle crashes are estimated to have cost Idahoans $856 million.”
The national report found that no state has adopted all 15 traffic safety measures, and a combined total of only 25 new laws were enacted by states in 2007.
In 2006, more than 42,600 people were killed and 2.5 million were injured in motor vehicle crashes in the U.S., which was the second- highest number of traffic deaths since 1990 when 44,599 people died.
“More than half of those killed were unbuckled, and the number of motorcycle rider deaths continued to climb for the ninth consecutive year,” said Judith Lee Stone, Advocates’ president. “At the same time, fatalities involving teen motorists and drunk drivers didn’t budge.
“We can and must do better, starting with this strong foundation of proven-effective laws.”
The report rates states only on whether they have adopted specific laws, not on enforcement, public education or the number of statewide fatalities. State ratings fall into three groupings: Green (Good); Yellow (Caution – state needs improvement); and Red (Danger – state falls dangerously behind).
Seventeen states – including Oregon and Washington - received green ratings, 30 states – including Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada and Utah – received yellow ratings, and three states – including Wyoming - received red ratings. Idaho also received a yellow rating last year. The only state to change categories in the 2008 report was Maine.
Download a copy of the report at www.saferoads.org .