Study: Md. Could Do More To Improve Highway Safety

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Fatal vehicle accident continue to rise, including here in Maryland. In the last ten years, nearly six thousand people have been killed on state roads.

Nationally, fatal vehicle accidents claimed over 35,000 lives in 2015 — that’s seven percent more than 2014.

“This is the larget percentage increase in 50 years,” says Jacqueline Gillan with Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety.

The organization published a study that says most states aren’t doing enough to deal with it. State’s in green have the most safety laws, red states the fewest.

National Highway Safety ratings

Maryland is given a yellow rating, meaning there are important laws, but there could be more.

Maryland highway safety needs improvement

Cell phone laws aim to reduce distracted driving. Also helping Maryland’s ratings are laws addressing motorcycle helmets, the use of child safety and booster seats and front seat belts:

Safety laws not on Maryland’s books primarily deal with teenage drivers.

They include stricter nighttime restrictions, increasing the minimum age for a permit to 16, it’s currently 15-years, 9-months. And a mandatory rear seat belt law.

“To reduce motor vehicle deaths and injuries and contain costs, the tried and true method is passing and enforcing strong safety laws,” says Gillan.

Maryland’s most recent law followed the death of Montgomery Police officer Noah Liotta. Killed by a drunk driver, Noah’s Law made it so a DUI conviction means mandatory alcohol testing devices tied to a car’s ignition.

“Unfortunately it only happens after they’ve made dangerous and deadly decisions to drive while intoxicated or impaired. But we’re glad to haveNoah’ss law on the books,” says Capt. Thomas Didone with Montgomery County Police.

Especially if it helps stop a second DUI bust.

While Maryland was rated as “needing improvement,” Virginia’s safety laws were rated as “poor,” Washington, D.C. got the top safety rating.

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