Green light for North Carolina's highway safety laws

The News & Observer

Green light for North Carolina's highway safety laws

North Carolina’s highway safety laws have earned the state a top “green light” rating in a new 50-state report from a Washington-based coalition of insurance, safety and consumer groups.

Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety says North Carolina should adopt three laws, proven to reduce crashes and save lives, that are not on the books here.

The report, "2009 Roadmap to State Highway Safety Laws," calls on the state to:

* Require ignition interlock devices for everyone convicted of impaired driving, including first-time DWI offenders. The device measures blood-alcohol content in the driver’s breath; if the driver is impaired, the car won’t start. Only 7 states require ignition interlocks for all DWI offenders.

* Require new drivers to complete at least 30 to 50 hours of adult-supervised driving as part of the graduated driver’s license program for teen drivers. 34 other states have such a law.

* Require a mandatory blood-alcohol content test for drivers in fatal crashes — whether the driver or someone else died. 29 other states have these requirements.

The report gives North Carolina partial credit for its interlock and blood-alcohol test laws.

Only two other states, Illinois and Maine, were cited along with North Carolina for lacking only three of the 15 safety laws recommended by the group.

The worst-rated state was South Dakota, which lacks 10 of the recommended 15 model traffic safety laws related to teen drivers, drunk driving and the use of seat belts, child booster seats, and motorcycle helmets.


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