No Green Light for Connecticut on Safe-Driving Laws; Yellow Caution Instead
WTNH photo from a viewer
Connecticut is lacking in several critical safe-driving laws, including requiring rear-seat seatbelts and motorcycle helmets, according to a report issued Wednesday.
Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety of Washington, D.C., issued its 25th-year look at laws that prevent fatalities, giving green, yellow and red ratings for states from best to worst. Connecticut has passed only eight of 15 laws in the report, giving it a yellow rating.
“Connecticut is missing some critical laws,” said Jacqueline Gillan, president of the Advocates. The annual cost to the state of motor vehicle crashes is $3.6 billion, according to the report.
On rear-seatbelt laws, which would allow police officers to pull over a driver solely based on any occupant being unbelted, Gillan said, “Most of the rear-seat passengers are children and teens, and there are 17 states that have primary-enforcement seatbelt laws that cover both the front- and rear-seat passengers.
“We believe that every person in every seat in every ride should be protected by a seatbelt.”
The report states that more than half of those who died in passenger vehicles were not wearing a safety belt; 33 states do not require rear-seat passengers to wear one; and 17 do not even require front seat passengers to wear a seatbelt.
Another law would require all riders of motorcycles to wear helmets. “Motorcycle fatalities are now almost 5,000 fatalities per year and 93,000 injured in 2012” nationwide, Gillan said.
“What’s even more startling about this is the fact that figure on fatalities has doubled since 1997,” from 2,116, she said.
According to the report, 4,957 motorcycle-related fatalities in 2012 represented a 7-percent increase from 2011, but 31 states lacked an all-rider helmet law.
“Motorcycle helmet laws are going in reverse,” Gillan said. “There are fewer states that have all-rider helmet laws today than there were in 1989, dropping from 22 to 19. “We’re seeing pretty dramatic increases in motorcycle fatalities, and these laws are under attack in state legislatures,” she said.