15th Annual Roadmap of State Highway Safety Laws – 2018

The following is the introduction to this important document from the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, a document which highlights that various state governments around the USA are unacceptably lax in creating laws which could save many thousands of American lives each year :

We Don’t Have to Wait for Fully Autonomous Cars to Stop Needless Deaths and Injuries
Effective and Available Countermeasures Must Be Adopted Now

The 2018 Roadmap of State Highway Safety Laws marks the 15th annual publication by Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety (Advocates). This report serves as a navigational tool giving guidance on successful measures to reduce preventable motor vehicle deaths, injuries and crash costs. Each day on average, approximately 100 people are killed and 6,500 more are injured on our roadways across the country. Yet, solutions continue to languish or be ignored in state capitals, Congress and at the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Photograph of rush-hour highway traffic, Washington D.C.
Rush-hour traffic, Washington D.C. (Copyright image.)

In recent years, there has been tremendous focus on the promise of autonomous vehicles (AVs), also known as driverless cars, to revolutionize our transportation system and reach the goal of zero traffic fatalities. However, the promise of AVs to completely solve our nation’s highway safety problem is, realistically, decades away. In the short term, we have proven traffic safety laws and advanced vehicle technologies available now that could be saving thousands of lives every year.

This year’s Roadmap Report has identified 407 state laws that are needed, to various extents, between the 50 states and the District of Columbia. Not a single state has all 16 of the optimal, lifesaving laws. The lack of basic traffic safety laws addressing occupant protection and child passenger safety as well as teen, impaired and distracted driving is contributing to our nation’s unacceptable death and injury toll. For instance, government fatality data these past five years show that on average half of all passenger vehicle occupants killed were not buckled up. Yet, 16 states do not have primary enforcement seat belt laws for all passengers. Nearly one-third of all crashes involve alcohol-impairment, while 32 critical impaired driving laws are still needed in 30 states. Moreover, year after year, all-rider motorcycle helmet laws are under attack in state legislatures even though on average 40% of all motorcyclists killed are not wearing a helmet.

Advocates congratulates the 13 states that adopted optimal safety laws in 2017. However, more laws in more states need to pass in 2018. It is time for state elected officials to take leadership roles in pushing enactment of laws that protect every occupant on every ride in every seating position. Also, stronger laws are needed to safeguard teen drivers and reduce the deadly consequences of alcohol impairment and distraction.

Safety laws combined with safety technologies are a winning strategy to make significant and steady progress in preventing crashes. The deadly threats of excessive speeding, red light running and impaired driving have technological solutions. Automated enforcement has a proven track record of combatting two major crash factors – speed and red light running. Ignition interlock devices (IIDs) have been extremely effective in preventing attempts to drive while impaired. Crash avoidance technologies such as automatic emergency braking (AEB) and lane departure warning should be standard equipment in all passenger cars and commercial motor vehicles. And, ensuring the safety of vulnerable rear seat passengers including children and teens needs to be prioritized through the installation of rear seat belt reminders and other technological tools.

Advocates is hopeful that in the long term driverless cars will be the catalyst for eliminating crash deaths and injuries. In the near term, adopting comprehensive safety laws and using proven roadway and in-vehicle technologies are the safest and surest route to addressing this major public health epidemic.

Catherine Chase, President

Read the full 15th Annual Roadmap of State Highway Safety Laws, 2018.


Sadly, another aspect of traffic safety in which the USA is a long way behind virtually all other developed nations is in the depth and quality of defensive or advanced driver training.  At Advanced Drivers of North America, we offer the most-proven, safe driving courses in the world, using the so-called “System of Car Control,” a.k.a. “IPSGA,” which has been continually refined and developed for over 80 years, since 1935, and is the most comprehensive training in the world, undeniably representing global best-practise.  If you have a team of drivers and would like them to be significantly safer, and your company more profitable, please Contact Us by using the link at the foot of our Courses page.

Author: EddieWren

Eddie Wren is the CEO and Chief Instructor at Advanced Drivers of North America. His driver safety background is given at: http://www.advanceddrivers.com/ceochief-instructors-resumecvbio/

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