Traffic Laws Have a Direct Impact on Road Safety

Traffic Laws Have a Direct Impact on Road Safety

One of the cornerstones of civilized society, laws keep anarchy in check by establishing guidelines for what people can and cannot do. Outlining acceptable behavior contributes to a cohesive society and promotes public welfare. Legislation is a key player in traffic safety, yet a recent report reveals that more than 375 laws are needed across the U.S. in order to address the country’s piecemeal safety agenda. Published by the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, the 14th edition of the Roadmap of State Highway Safety Laws rated the states “on their progress in adopting 15 basic, commonsense laws that have been shown to save lives, prevent injuries and reduce the economic and social cost of crashes.” And how did Georgia do? It received the second of the three possible ratings.

The Peach State shared the “yellow” rating along with 27 other states, indicating that they “need improvement because of gaps in Advocates’ recommended optimal laws.” Only five states showed “significant advancement” toward adopting the laws, thereby receiving the coveted “green” rating. The remaining 17 states were labeled as “falling dangerously behind,” a classification of “red.” While no state has adopted all 15 laws yet, Rhode Island tops the list with 12 and South Dakota comes in last with only two.

Georgia has only 8 of 15 laws suggested as essential to highway safety. A reduction in costs and fatalities would result if laws were passed for:

  1. Primary enforcement rear seat belt
  2. Minimum age of 16 for a learner’s permit
  3. Minimum of 50 hours of supervised driving for learners
  4. No nighttime time driving for learners
  5. Restricted passengers for intermediate stage drivers
  6. Minimum age of 18 for an unrestricted license
  7. Ignition interlock devices for convicted drunk drivers.

Of the 15 laws considered fundamental to highway safety, three address impaired driving:

  1. Installation of ignition interlock devices on the vehicles of all convicted drunk driving offenders
  2. An impaired driver who endangers a minor faces either a separate offense or an enhanced penalty
  3. No open containers of alcohol allowed in the passenger compartment.

Seven are concerned with teen driving and graduated driver licensing (GDL):

  1. Minimum age of 16 for a learner’s permit
  2. 50 hours of supervised driving, 10 of which must be at night, during learner’s stage
  3. Six months of supervised, citation-free driving before progressing to intermediate stage
  4. No unsupervised driving from 10 p.m. to 5a.m. during intermediate stage
  5. No more than one non-familial passenger younger than age 21 during intermediate stage
  6. No use of cellular devices behind the wheel during GDL program
  7. Minimum age of 18 for an unrestricted license.

Occupant protection is covered by:

  1. Primary enforcement front seat belt law
  2. Primary enforcement rear seat belt law
  3. All motorcycle riders must wear helmets
  4. Children who have outgrown the height and weight limit of a forward-facing safety seat must be placed in a booster seat until reaching 57 inches in height and the age of eight.

The final law prohibits all drivers from text messaging except in an emergency.

The 15 laws identified as essential have the potential to save lives and money. Both of those worthy goals are needed here – Georgia’s annual economic cost due to motor vehicle crashes is estimated to be $10.787 billion, and there were 13,546 fatalities on our roads from 2006 to 2015. Proactive action by state legislators could make a substantial difference in reducing these numbers.

If you have been hurt in a motor vehicle accident, or have lost someone you love in such an accident, it is important to contact a GA car wreck lawyer. The personal injury attorneys at the Mann Law Firm can help by reviewing your circumstances and discussing all available legal options. Call us at 478-742-3381 or fill out our online form. In addition to cases handled in Macon, we are prepared to handle claims on behalf of clients in Dublin, Warner Robins, Milledgeville and other Georgia communities. We would like to meet with you to discuss your case and we are proud to offer free initial consultations.