Illinois ranked among best and Iowa among worst for highway safety laws

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A new report says Iowa has a long way to go to improve highway safety laws, and that Illinois is among states with the best traffic safety laws.

Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety released its annual Roadmap of State Highway Safety Laws.  The report grades all 50 states and the District of Columbia on the existence and strength of what the group calls 15 “basic” traffic laws.  The report is aimed at highlighting “dangerous gaps in state traffic safety laws.”

States are ranked on whether their laws include primary enforcement of seat belt laws for front seat occupants, primary enforcement of seat belt laws for back seat occupants, a motorcycle helmet law for all riders, a child booster seat law, learner’s permit and graduated license requirements for teen drivers, cell phone and text messaging restrictions and enforcement of laws aimed at impaired drivers who endanger minors, carry open containers or might be required to use an ignition interlock device.

Illinois ranked second only to the District of Columbia as the state with the highest rating for having and enforcing those traffic laws.

“The states with the best ratings are DC, IL, OR, DE, HI, IN, ME, RI, WA, CA and LA. Those with the worst ratings are SD, MS, AZ, IA, MT, NE, AL, FL, NH, ND and WY,” according to the report.

Illinois had 12 of the 15 laws, supported by the group, on its books.  The report said Illinois was “missing an all-rider motorcycle helmet law, minimum age 16 for a learner’s permit and nighttime restriction for teen drivers.”

Iowa was downgraded from the group’s 2013 report, and had enacted only five of the group’s recommended 15 laws.  The report said Iowa was “missing rear primary enforcement seat belt law, all-rider motorcycle helmet law, booster seat law, 5 of the 7 teen driving provisions, and ignition interlock law, and an all-driver text messaging restriction.”