Report ranks state traffic safety laws

Michigan needs to improve its traffic safety laws, according to a new report from Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety. The report ranks all 50 states on their implementation of legislation regulating motorcycle helmet and seat belt use, teen driving, distracted and impaired driving and child passenger safety. Rhode Island was ranked the best and South Dakota the worst. Michigan fell in the middle.

The Washington D.C.-based trade group has identified 376 state laws it thinks state legislatures should adopt on traffic safety, including regulations on seat belt use, impaired driving and graduated driver’s licenses for teens. The group’s report found that 16 states lack primary enforcement seat belt legislation while 32 states don’t have laws in place regulating seat belt use for rear passengers.

In addition to Rhode Island, other states that earned top ratings for traffic safety laws include Delaware, Louisiana, Oregon and Washington D.C. Seventeen states including Wyoming, Florida, Ohio and Vermont joined South Dakota in the bad category. Meanwhile, Michigan and 27 other states were ranked “yellow,” meaning improvements could be made to existing traffic safety laws. Federal statistics show that U.S. traffic fatalities increased 7.2 percent in 2015, which was the largest jump in 50 years. Preliminary figures through September 2016 show an 8 percent increase over the same period the previous year.

Around 2.4 million Americans were injured in car accidents in 2015, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Some accident victims choose to pursue a personal injury lawsuit in order to recover damages such as medical expenses and lost wages. An attorney could review a victim’s case and recommend the best course of legal action.