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What can Connecticut do to make its roads safer?

Recently, the Washington D.C.-based Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety released its annual Roadmap of State Highway Safety Laws, which evaluates the traffic safety laws in each state.

Although fatal motor vehicle accidents have been on the decline over the past decade, the Advocates say that there is still plenty of room for improvement when it comes to making the roads safer.

In fact, though highway fatalities have gone down by close to 25 percent over the past 10 years or so, there were still a whopping 32,719 lives lost in motor vehicle accidents in 2013 alone, the deputy administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported.

So what can states do to make their roads safer? The Advocates say the easiest answer is to adopt the 15 laws that they believe are critical in order to save lives. So far, no state has adopted all 15 of the laws, which govern everything from car seats to motorcycle helmets to graduated licensing programs.

According to the Advocates’ 2015 report, the state of Connecticut still has plenty of room for improvement with its enforcement. The Advocates gave the state a “yellow” rating, meaning that the state “needs improvement because of gaps in Advocates’ recommended optimal laws.”

Specifically, the report stated the Connecticut would benefit from the following traffic laws:

  • A primary enforcement seat belt law for rear passenger riders
  • An all-rider motorcycle helmet law
  • A booster seat law for children up to age 7
  • Stronger laws within the state’s graduated licensing program
  • A child endangerment law
  • An open container law

Hopefully, the state legislature takes these recommendations seriously. According to the report, 276 people lost their lives in Connecticut motor vehicle accidents in 2013. Highway fatalities also cost $5.635 billion in economic losses each year, not to mention the priceless losses endured by families and friends.

Source: Safety and Health Magazine, “States must bolster traffic safety laws, advocates say,” Jan. 27, 2015

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