How did Georgia fare in a new report on traffic safety laws?

For the last 14 years, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, a coalition dedicated to making America’s roads and highways safer, has released a highly influential annual report card examining the progress made by the 50 states in passing basic traffic safety measures.

Indeed, this year's report was perhaps more anticipated than normal given the dramatic increase in motor vehicle fatalities over the last two years, with statistics showing that traffic deaths increased by 7.2 percent in 2015 over 2014, and 8 percent from the first nine months of 2016 over the first nine months of 2015.

As far as the structure of the report, it essentially awards the states one of three ratings -- green (best), yellow (intermediate) and red (worst) -- based on how many of the 15 so-called "optimal laws" that Advocates believes are essential to preventing serious and fatal accidents have been passed.

Some of these optimal laws include:

  • Primary enforcement seat belt laws for front and back passengers (police can pull motorists over solely for this offense)
  • Universal motorcycle helmet laws
  • Graduated licensing laws for teen drivers complete with seven components (i.e., nighttime restrictions, passenger restrictions, cell phone restrictions, etc.)
  • Anti-texting laws
  • Open container laws

As to how the states fared, five received a green rating, 28 received a yellow rating and 17 received a red rating. The distinction of having passed the most optimal laws went to Rhode Island with 12, while the dubious distinction of having passed the fewest optimal laws went to South Dakota with two.       

As for Georgia, it earned a yellow rating for having passed eight optimal laws with state lawmakers being urged to pass the following measures:

  • Primary enforcement seat belt law for back passengers
  • Ignition interlock law for all offenders
  • Graduated licensing law making the minimum age for a permit 16
  • Graduated licensing law making the minimum age for an unrestricted license 18
  • Graduated licensing law with a stronger supervised driving requirement
  • Graduated licensing law with a stronger nighttime restriction
  • Graduated licensing law with a stronger passenger restriction

What are your thoughts on this report? Do you think Georgia should take steps to enact the remainder of these optimal laws?

Consider speaking with an experienced legal professional as soon as possible to learn more about your options if you've been seriously injured or lost a loved one in a motor vehicle accident caused by the negligence of another.

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