As a Baltimore auto injury attorney, I wouldn’t get too complacent just yet, but it’s heartening to read that our state received high marks for traffic safety recently. Fatalities and injuries from car crashes represent a fair percentage of our annual accident statistics here in Maryland. But according to a recent report, we can rest a bit easier knowing that we scored pretty high in the area of traffic safety.
According to news reports, Maryland is ranked among the top four states on a yearly “report card” put out by the group known as Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety (AHAS). According to the AHAS, the recently adopted anti-text-messaging legislation now in effect gave us a big boost in the rankings. This law alone could co a long way toward cutting the number of automobile crashes.
Maryland reportedly gets credit for adopting nearly 12 of the AHAS’s 15 “model laws,” which it recommends every state take on. Achieving a fourth-place ranking was apparently nothing to sneeze at since the group has raised its requirements year over year.
As a matter of fact, the number one ranked area in the AHAS’s report card was Washington, D.C., which was credited with adopting more than 13 of the model laws. South Dakota was at the bottom of the list with only three of the recommended laws on its books.
Of the 15 model laws listed by the AHAS, mandatory requirements for safety-related devices such as seatbelts, motorcycle helmets and child safety seats are some. Also included are laws applying to teen driving, distracted driving and drunken driving. An interesting fact: Back in 2001, only 10 states in the Union had 0.08 percent blood-alcohol limit on the books. By 2005, every state set 0.08 as the legal limit for drunk driving arrests.
Areas in which the group said Maryland fell short were its failure to set 16 as the minimum age for a learner’s permit, although the state did raise that from 15 years about nine months ago; passenger and cell phone restrictions on teen drivers and an ignition interlock requirement for any motorist convicted of drunk driving.
Based on reports, Maryland’s adoption of a texting ban, as well as raising the minimum age for an unrestricted license to 18 year old, brought the state up from last year’s number 18 ranking to fourth this year.
Maryland ranks high on safety report card, BaltimoreSun.com, January 12, 2010