Illinois has received the third-best rating in the nation for highway safety from an advocacy group focused on drunk driving laws, distracted driving and teen driving safety.
The Chicago car accident attorneys at Abels & Annes published dozens of articles in 2009, both here and on our Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer blog, about the perils of drunk and distracted driving and the challenges teens face in learning good driving habits.
Advocates for Highway & Auto Safety released its 7th annual report card on all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The group's primary focus is on three areas: banning text messaging, graduated driver licensing and ignition-interlock laws for drunk driving offenders.
"Our intent was to highlight the documented need for more states to adopt these highly effective lifesaving laws aimed at high-risk behavior," said Judith Lee Stone, president of Advocates.
The group said it's no accident the report cards were released in time for 2010 state legislative sessions across the country. "Timing is everything, and the times is right to increase the pressure on states," Vice President Jackie Gillan said.
The group reported an annual average of 5.8 million traffic rashes on the nation's highways each year, claiming 30,000 lives and injuring more than 2 million. Every day, 102 people are killed and more than 6,000 injured in traffic collisions.
The group graded states in five areas with a maximum of 15 points: Adult Occupant Protection (seat belt and motorcycle helmet laws); Child Passenger Safety (booster seat laws); Teen Driving Graduated Driver Licensing; Impaired Driving (ignition interlock devices, child endangerment laws, mandatory testing laws and open container laws) and Distracted Driving (a ban on text messaging).
States received a Green Rating (good), Yellow Rating (needs improvement) or Red Rating (state dangerously behind).
Illinois received 12.5 of a possible 15 points, leading the nation behind the District of Columbia (13.5) and New Jersey (13).
In addition to Illinois's Graduated Licensing program, which became law in 2008, Illinois passed a ban on texting while driving, which took effect Jan. 1.
Rounding out the Top 10 states were Maryland, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Tennessee,
Minnesota and California.
The worst states were South Dakota, Arizona, North Dakota, Wyoming, Virgina, Vermont, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Nebraska.
"These report cards serve as a highway safety GPS for every state that is serious about curbing the never-ending deaths and injuries on our roads," said Illinois Senate President John Cullerton of Chicago.
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