A new report from Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety ranks Washington as one of the 10 safest states for drivers.
The group identified 15 laws that contribute to basic highway safety, and based its rankings solely on the number of these laws that have been enacted by each state.
These 15 laws pertain to restrictions on teenagers who drive, impaired driving, text messaging while driving, existence of seat belt laws, as well as to the child booster seats and helmets for motorcyclists requirements. In the report, credit is only given to states where the laws are subject to primary enforcement — in other words, the police can pull over and cite the driver solely for violating that law.
The map on the right shows 10 states (plus Washington, D.C.) in green, rated as having good protections, and 11 states in red, considered to have “dangerous lack of basic safety laws.” The states in yellow were somewhere in between.
Oregon and Illinois, each with 12 of the 15 laws, are the top states for the number of laws enacted. Washington is right behind with 11.
The four areas in which Washington doesn’t get credit involve laws restricting drivers younger than 18:
• Minimum age of 16 for learner’s permit;
• Tougher restrictions on intermediate drivers at night;
• Tougher restrictions on intermediate drivers for passengers;
• Age 18 for an unrestricted license.
The state with the fewest number of driving laws is South Dakota, with just two of 15.
Just one state doesn’t have an adult seat belt law: New Hampshire. Which may be expected, given its state motto — Live Free or Die.