Traffic safety laws and driving regulations often differ from one state to another. With an alarming nationwide increase in fatalities from traffic accidents, government agencies and civilian advocates are calling for more attention to how different states enact and enforce traffic laws.
A recent report, for example, has evaluated states for their emphasis on road safety. Virginia received a low rating, DC a high one, while Maryland was downgraded in part because of a lack of certain safety laws.
For example, Maryland should enact a law that not only requires all passengers in the back seat of a vehicle to wear a seat belt, but to make this a primary offense that could result in a police officer stopping a car and handing out a ticket. Currently, it isn’t a primary offense for back seat passengers who are over 16.
As a recent op-ed from The Baltimore Sun points out, it’s often people between the ages of 16 and 24 who are less likely to wear seat belts. A primary offense (as opposed to secondary law) applying to everyone in the car and enforced fairly and consistently can help save more lives.
Enforcing stronger seat belt laws isn’t the only way to bring down traffic fatalities. There are other behaviors vehicle occupants need to be mindful of, particularly driver distraction. Using your smartphone to check your email or scroll through your Facebook feed while driving can lead to a disastrous accident; drivers often overestimate their ability to spread their attention between multiple activities.
But there’s also no question that, in and of itself, enforcing and promoting more seat belt use will save lives. Some states seem to emphasize this more than others.
If you’d like to find out more about developments in road safety and related legal issues, feel free to follow us on Facebook, as we often use our Facebook account to share this kind of information. And, should you suffer an accident, don’t hesitate to contact us at 844-Take-MyCase or through our website, www.844TakeMyCase.com.
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