FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 29, 2018
Contact: Eric Naing 202-408-1711, cell: 217-493-8294, firstname.lastname@example.org
Statement of Cathy Chase,
President of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety,
On Independence Day Travel
Mid-Year Review Reveals States Made Slight Progress in 2018 but Still Lack Over 400 Proven Safety Laws to Protect Families Travelling on our Nation’s Roads and Highways for the July 4th Holiday
The Independence Day holiday is one of the most dangerous times to travel on our Nation’s roadways. Over the five-day period from today through to July 4, approximately 500 people will die and 32,500 more will be injured in preventable crashes. These eye-popping numbers should be even more attention-getting than a fireworks finale. State elected officials throughout the country need to take swift action to make their roads and highways safer. In addition to the five state legislatures (CA, MA, MI, NJ and PA) and the District of Columbia (DC) Council that will still be in session after July 4, all legislators and governors should start planning for the 2019 legislative session and make highway safety a top priority.
Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety (Advocates) has identified 16 fundamental traffic safety laws proven to reduce crashes, save lives and prevent injuries covering occupant protection, child passenger safety, graduated driver licensing programs for teen and novice drivers, impaired driving and distracted driving.
Moving in the right direction this year are four states that have enacted one of the critical measures outlined in Advocates’ 2018 Roadmap of State Highway Safety Laws:
Idaho: Enacted an all-offender ignition interlock device law.
Iowa: Enacted an all-offender ignition interlock device law.
Nebraska: Upgraded its child passenger safety laws by enacting a requirement for children to be seated rear facing through age two and by extending its booster seat law to age eight.
Virginia: Upgraded its child passenger safety laws by enacting a requirement for children to remain rear facing through age two.
Yet, there are still 404 highway safety laws missing in states across the country and DC.
- 31 states MISSING: an all-passenger, primary enforcement seat belt law (AL, AZ, AR, CO, CT, FL, GA, ID, IA, KS, MD, MA, MI, MO, MT, NE, NV, NH, NJ, NY, NC, ND, OH, OK, PA, SD, TN, VT, VA, WV, WY)
- 20 states and DC MISSING: a novice teen driver cell phone restriction (AL, AK, AZ, AR, CA, FL, GA, ID, MS, MO, MT, NE, NV, NY, OK, PA, SC, SD, VA, WY)
- 7 states MISSING: an all-driver text messaging ban (AZ, FL, MO, MT, NE, OH, SD)
- 31 states MISSING: an all-rider motorcycle helmet law (AK, AZ, AR, CO, CT, DE, FL, HI, ID, IL, IN, IA, KS, KY, ME, MI, MN, MT, NH, NM, ND, OH, OK, ID, IL, IN, IA, KY, LA, MN, MS)
- 18 states MISSING: an all-offender ignition interlock device law (CA, FL, GA, IN, KY, MA, MI, MN, MT, NJ, NC, ND, OH, PA, SC, SD, WI, WY)
- 9 states MISSING: an open container law (AK, CT, DE, LA, MS, MO, TN, VA, WY)
- 3 states MISSING: a child endangerment law for people driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (NM, SD, VT)
- 39 states and DC MISSING: a rear facing through age two safety seat law (AL, AK, AZ, AR, CO, DE, FL, GA, HI, ID, IL, IN, IA, KS, KY, LA, ME, MD, MA, MI, MN, MS, MO, MT, NV, NH, NM, NC, ND, OH, SD, TN, TX, UT, VT, WA. WV, WI, WY)
- 35 states and DC MISSING: an optimal booster seat law (AL, AK, AZ, AR, CO, CT, DE, FL, HI, ID, IL, IN, IA, KS, KY, LA, ME, MS, MO, MT, NE, NV, NH, NM, NY, NC, OH, OK, PA, SD, TN, VT, VA, WI, WY)
- Every state and DC MISSING: at least one critical part of a comprehensive teen graduated driver licensing (GDL) law which optimally includes seven key safety components
Effective, commonsense solutions to prevent motor vehicle crashes are available, and state legislatures and governors should be diligently working to enact them. The surge in holiday travel brings to the forefront that motor vehicle crashes are a serious and deadly public health epidemic. State lawmakers should heed the words of one of our founding fathers, Ben Franklin, who said, “Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time; for that’s the stuff life is made of.” Each day that states fail to enact known safety solutions is a squandered opportunity to save lives and protect families from experiencing the devastating trauma that a crash can cause.