Auto safety group Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety has released its annual report on performance and highway safety measures. This year, Georgia has been ranked well, notching up a Green ranking, the highest on the list, a finding that is encouraging to the Atlanta car accident attorneys at our firm.
The 9th annual Roadmap to State Highway Safety Laws compares all 50 states and grades them based on their adoption of 15 basic traffic safety laws. The 15 laws include everything from seatbelt and motorcycle safety to graduated driver’s licensing programs and distracted driving measures.
Georgia received a Green ranking, and the report found that the state performed well by implementing at least 11 of the laws the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety recommends. However, many feel Georgia could do better. One of the ways that the state could improve its highway safety record is by raising the minimum age for getting a learner’s permit, and enacting stricter nighttime and passenger restrictions on graduated driver’s licensing programs for teen drivers. Sadly, teenage drivers are some of the biggest victims of auto accidents every year. Stronger graduated driver’s licensing laws in Georgia may help save more teen lives in accidents every year.
The report also found that Georgia motorists could be much safer if the state adopts an ignition interlock law that would prevent persons convicted of drunk driving from operating a vehicle. Many states have enacted ignition interlock laws to reduce the risk of drunk driving, and have found great success with these laws. Georgia’s current laws restrict the punishment for drunk drivers to license suspensions, jail time and fines. Unfortunately, losing a license does not necessarily prevent a motorist from driving under a suspended license. Ignition interlock devices add a protection to prevent motorists from driving under the influence.
We also believe that alcohol providers could be more diligent in who they serve drinks to, and we’ve spent considerable time discussing Georgia Dram Shop laws over the past 2 years. The bottom line is that every bartender, waiter, or convenience store clerk could save lives by refusing to provide alcohol to visibly intoxicated persons.
The only other states that ranked much better than Georgia on the list were North Carolina, Oregon, New Jersey, Illinois, Columbia and New York. New York was ranked at the top of the list, with its adoption of 13 laws included in the recommendations. No state has adopted all 15 traffic safety laws recommended by the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety. The rankings rated Green as Good, Yellow as Caution-State Needs Improvement, and Red as State Falls Dangerously Low.
This year’s report focused on the financial costs of automobile accidents. According to the report, automobile accidents cost the economy about $230 billion annually. In 2010, there were close to 33,000 deaths in auto accidents in the United States. Many of those lives could have been saved with stronger safety laws. For instance, drunk driving accident costs the economy about $132 billion every year. Many of those lives can be saved if all states enact effective laws, like ignition interlock laws that prevent drunk motorists from driving.
The Atlanta car crash attorneys at Katz Personal Injury Lawyers are dedicated to the representation of persons injured in car accidents in the metro Atlanta region and across Georgia. If you or a loved one have suffered injuries in a car accident, talk to a lawyer at our firm and determine if you have legal options to a claim for damages. You may be eligible for compensation that includes medical expenses, lost income and other types of damages. Talk to an attorney at our firm and discuss your case.