Ohio Receives Poor Highway Safety Rating
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Last Update: 1:37 am
CINCINNATI -- Highway safety advocates give Ohio the lowest possible rating on a recent review of state highway laws. The president of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety tells 9 News, that's like getting a D- on a report card.
The Washington D.C. group rated every state based on 15 highway laws the group says save lives.
Ohio is among nine states that received the lowest of three possible ratings. The category is called "falling dangerously behind in adoption of key laws."
One reason for the bad rating, in Ohio, you can only get a ticket for not wearing your seatbelt if you're pulled over for another reason.
The Buckeye State also lost points for having no ban on text messaging while driving and no laws against teens driving and talking on the cell phone. The group also wants tougher booster seat laws and mandatory helmets for motorcyclists.
Only 10 states met the highest rating. Kentucky and Indiana received the middle rating of "advancing with numerous gaps."
Judie Stone is the president of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety. She says it takes more than education to get people to change their dangerous behavior. She says it takes laws and she hopes the review will encourage state leaders to pass new laws.
"Education is not enough," says Stone. "It's been proven it's not enough. It's fine, go ahead and do it, but don't expect driving to change if that's all you're going to do."
Despite Ohio's poor ranking on this report, state troopers defend the safety of Ohio roads.
"2009 was the safest year on record as far as fatalities go in the state of Ohio, as well as crashes" says Lieutenant Anthony Lauer, of the Lebanon Post in Warren County.
Troopers also support the laws the advocacy group is pushing.
"Anything that could make traffic safety better we support because we know in the long run they are going to save people's lives,” says Lauer.
The Ohio legislature is currently considering several bills that would restrict texting while driving.
The Governor has pushed for a tougher seatbelt law, but so far that hasn't gotten the approval that it needs.