Midwestern States Ranked Worst in the Nation for Basic Highway Safety

Midwestern States Ranked Worst in the Nation for Basic Highway Safety | Pintas & Mullins Law Firm

A recent report on national highway safety patterns concluded that 11 states, most of them in the Midwest and Upper West, showed a dangerous lack of basic safety protections. This points to an immediate need for state legislatures to begin taking the necessary steps toward roadway safety. Auto accident attorneys at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm highlight some of the most relevant, and jarring, statistics from this highway report.

Every year, over 33,000 people die and 2.3 million are injured on American roadways, with an estimated economic cost of over $230 billion. Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death in the U.S. for citizens aged five to 24, reinforcing the need for new laws and strengthened regulations on our nation’s roadways.

The above-mentioned report was compiled by the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, and explicitly confirms an association between states with the most roadway regulation and lowest automobile fatality rates. The report is based on whether states have adopted 15 lifesaving laws related to distracted, reckless and impaired driving.

Among these 15 laws include texting-while-driving bans, seat belt requirements, helmet requirements for motorcyclists, and requiring booster seats for children. Illinois and Oregon topped the list with the most laws adopted, with 12 each. South Dakota, on the other hand, came in dead last, with two (in that state, at least it is illegal to drive with an open container and to drive at night if you are under 18).

The eleven states with the worst adoption of basic highway safety laws are: Alabama, Arizona, Iowa, Florida, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming. None of these states have adopted more than seven optimal safety laws. Surprisingly, New Hampshire is the only state in the nation without an existing seat belt law. More than half of all people killed in auto accidents were unrestrained.

Ten states – California, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Oregon, and Washington – received a green rating, the group’s highest ranking. States could only gain a Green rating if they had both primary enforcement seat belt laws and an all-rider motorcycle helmet law. The advocacy group notes that only eight states enacted any new laws that met criteria for their report in 2013, and none mandated the use of booster seats in children aged four to seven. 

Overall, only 11 states have restrictions on teens driving at night, and only Hawaii and Virginia have restrictions on texting for all drivers. Just two other states, Maine and Tennessee, require ignition interlocks for all drivers who are charged with impaired driving.

Based on the group’s recommendations, states need to adopt about 333 more laws to be in full compliance will all basic safety regulations. Auto accident attorneys at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm highlight this report to remind drivers of how important safe driving is. Far too many people are seriously injured and killed on American roadways, and we all need to make a collected, concerted effort to reduce these numbers. If you or someone you loved suffered great injury by the negligence of another driver, you have important legal rights and a slew of legal options. Our attorneys can help you decide the best course to take to get the maximum amount of compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses. Contact our firm today for a free case review.