N.J. gets “green” light for road safety

News North Jersey Media Group January 06, 2006
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Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, a Washington D.C.-based organization, recently gave New Jersey a “green” grade—it’s highest ranking—in its annual survey, North Jersey Media Group reported.

The grade, which was awarded to 15 other states and the District of Columbia, was based on New Jersey’s seat belt, motorcycle helmet and child endangerment laws, among others. The state received a “thumbs up” on 11 of the group’s 14 benchmark laws, North Jersey reported.

However, New Jersey still needs a lower blood-alcohol threshold, tougher nighttime driving rules for teens and more supervision of young drivers, the group said.

The picture was not as good nationwide. Alaska, Arkansas, South Dakota and Wyoming were cited as “red” states for their failure to enact laws supported by the group.

“Enacting highway safety laws in state legislatures is beginning to look like a board game,” Jackie Gillan, the group’s vice president, said in a statement. “The winners and losers are American families, but governors and state legislators are playing with their lives. Last year’s state legislative activity can best be characterized by distraction, inaction and retraction.”

A spokeswoman for the New Jersey Department of Transportation said officials there had not yet read the report and could not comment.

Other “green” states include Alabama, California, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee and Washington.

“In 2006, with leadership in governors’ mansions and state legislatures across the nation, we will improve on this record to draw a different and safer roadmap next year,” said Alan Maness, associate general counsel for the State Farm Insurance Cos. “Enacting federal and state laws to promote highway and auto safety is an effective strategy to reduce needless deaths and injuries.”

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