In a national report on road safety released recently, Ohio was one of eight states to receive a “Red” rating for poor performance due to a dangerous lack of basic safety laws. Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, the authors of the annual report, say that Ohio’s lack of traffic safety laws comes at a steep price to residents in both dollars and lives.
Preliminary data shows that 1,019 people died in traffic accidents in Ohio last year. While it may seem high, this number is actually the lowest on record since the state began keep track in 1936. Some experts attribute the lower fatality rate in recent years to advances in health care and vehicle design rather than improvements in road safety laws or driving habits.
In economic terms, car accidents cost Ohio residents about $11 billion each year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. These costs include medical and rehabilitative expenses, lost income and productivity, and expenditures for unemployment and public assistance.
Safety Group Recommends Better Laws
The highway safety group recommended that states adopt 15 traffic laws aimed at reducing accidents. Ohio and the seven other states that scored poorly in the report were found to have enacted less than half of the recommended laws.
One area in which Ohio needs improvement is in the regulation of texting while driving. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, texting while driving multiplies the risk of accidents by a factor of 23. A proposal to ban texting while driving is currently stalled in the Ohio legislature.
Other recommended laws that Ohio has not enacted include one that would allow police officers to stop drivers for seatbelt or child booster seat violations. Currently, Ohio law permits officers to issue these citations only to drivers who have been pulled over for other offenses. The authors of the report also suggested enhancements to Ohio’s impaired driving laws, including stricter ignition interlock requirements for people convicted of drunk driving and mandatory blood-alcohol testing for all drivers involved in fatal alcohol-related accidents.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident in Ohio, contact an experienced personal injury to learn about how you may be able to receive compensation for your injuries.