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California ranks high in safety laws, high in fatalities

Perhaps you have never given a second thought to your safety on the highway beyond fastening your seat belt and shaking your fist at those who take dangerous chances in your path. Maybe you simply trust that state and federal laws will protect you from reckless or negligent drivers who place you in harm's way. On the other hand, you may be painfully aware of how treacherous it can be on the road because you have suffered injuries or lost a loved one in a traffic accident.

A new report by the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety scores states from best to worst based on the number of traffic safety laws in place. You may be surprised to learn where California ranks on that list.

Calling for laws that promote safety

Motor vehicle accidents are the most common cause of death for those between five and 34 years old. The AHAD holds that every state should have 16 basic laws in place which research shows are instrumental in reducing accidents, injuries and deaths on the highways. Some of those laws fall into the following categories:

  • Seat belt laws
  • Motorcycle helmet laws
  • Child restraint laws
  • New driver laws, including those that set a minimum age for learner's permits and limit driving after dark
  • Alcohol-related laws, including mandatory ignition interlock for all DUI offenders and laws prohibiting open containers of alcohol in vehicles
  • Distracted driving laws, including restrictions on texting and cell phone use for drivers

You may agree that many of these categories provide the opportunity for the state to save lives, and California apparently ranks very high. In fact, of the 16 laws AHAD believes are critical for all states, California has 10 in place.

More laws don't always mean safer roads

While the score may be favorable for state lawmakers, it may be too soon for congratulations. Despite the many laws on the books, over 3,600 drivers and passengers died on California highways in 2017, which is nearly 10 percent of the total number of motor vehicle fatalities nationwide. If your loved one was among these fatalities, you understand that laws cannot make a difference if individual drivers fail to obey them.

If you are suffering a loss or injury because of the negligent actions of another driver, you have every right to seek answers to your questions. Reaching out to an attorney may provide you with direction for pursuing justice for your loved one.

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