California was the only state in the nation to receive consistently top marks across the board on a recent ranking of traffic safety laws conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). The study examined the strength of traffic safety laws in six key areas, including: driving under the influence/driving while intoxicated (DUI/DWI), young driver licensing, safety belt use, child restraint use, motorcycle helmet use and red light cameras.
“I am extremely pleased by the results of the IIHS study,” said Office of Traffic Safety Director Christopher J. Murphy. “We ended 2008 on a very high note, with seat belt and child safety seat use at an all-time high, plus alcohol impaired and total traffic fatalities were down significantly. The synergy between California’s traffic safety laws, enforcement, engineering, emergency medical services, and public awareness are really paying off.”
The Golden State’s 2008 adult seat belt use rate was 95.7 percent, with teens buckling up at a rate of 89.6 percent and child safety seat use at 94.4 percent. Total traffic fatalities are projected to be down over 13 percent from 2007, translating into well over 500 lives saved in just one year. Although 2008 figures for alcohol impaired fatalities are not yet available, the 2007 fatality total was down 9.5 percent from the previous year.
California was the only state to receive ‘good’ ratings in all six categories, the highest rating possible. Only Delaware, the District of Columbia, Oregon and Washington received five out of six ‘good’ scores.
After a nearly two year process, California instituted a Strategic Highway Safety Plan in September of 2006 to significantly reduce deaths and injuries. Hundreds of state and local agencies, advocacy groups and private industries helped develop the plan, which has been integrated into the on-going efforts of agencies and organizations throughout the state.
The IIHS comparisons of state laws is available at http://www.iihs.org/laws/measureup.aspx
Source: California Office of Traffic Safety
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