Report from Advocate Group Says Cameras Are Needed With the Rise of Traffic Deaths

Dec. 8, 2022
The advocacy group says more needs to be done in order to prevent road fatalities

The group Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety said that more needs to be done to prevent traffic fatalities. State legislators should change traffic laws to make sure kids under the age of 12 sit in the back seat, to limit when teens can drive, and to allow for automated enforcement with speed and red-light cameras said the group on Tuesday.

According to a report by the advocate groupannual traffic deaths have surged to nearly 43,000, which they call "egregiously high".

“Motor vehicle crash deaths have skyrocketed, and it is imperative that we utilize every opportunity to end this tragic toll,” wrote Cathy Chase, the group’s president, in the report.

The group found that only five states (Louisiana, Maryland, Oregon, Rhode Island, Washington) and Washington D.C., earned a “good” designation for traffic safety-related laws. They looked for certain traffic laws dealing with occupant protection, child passenger safety, teen drivers, impaired drivers, distracted driving and automated enforcement.

Thirty-six states were in the group’s middle tier, labeled “caution.”

Nine states (Florida, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming) were on the bottom tier. 

Some of the measures that Advocates called for have been widely adopted. For example, 46 states have banned drivers from sending text messages. Thirty-four allow for primary enforcement of seat belt laws for front-seat occupants, and 39 states ban open containers of alcohol in vehicles. In addition, 34 states also require people who have been convicted of driving under the influence to use an ignition interlock device.

However, other recommendations from the group were far less popular, particularly rules regarding teen drivers and child passengers. Of the group’s guidance:

  • Only one state (New Jersey) went along with the group’s suggestion that learner’s permits should be restricted to people 16 or older, and full licenses limited to people 17 or older.
  • Only one state (Maine) requires new teen drivers to have 70 hours of behind-the-wheel training with a licensed driver before they get their licenses, as Advocates recommends.
  • Only two states (Idaho and South Carolina) prohibit teens from driving after 8 p.m.
  • Seven states and the district restrict teen drivers from having young passengers with them who are not relatives.
  • Only two states (Louisiana and Washington state) require all children 12 and under to sit in the back seat with seatbelts on.
  • Just 17 states require children who have outgrown safety seats to use booster seats until they can properly use the built-in seatbelts (usually when the kids grow to 4 feet, 9 inches tall and are older than 8, according to Advocates).
  • Eighteen states and the district require babies and toddlers to remain in rear-facing child seats until they are at least 2 years old.

The group added a new category of laws this year covering speed cameras and red-light cameras. They added the criteria as the number of speeding-related deaths has increased, and researchers have found that speed cameras can cut down on speed-related crashes.



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