Data shows stricter driving laws make us safer

The singer Sammy Hagar once sang in complaint “I Can’t Drive 55,” an ode to the tortoises that cars became when the speed limit was lowered to 55 mph in 1974 as a provision of the Federal Emergency Highway Energy Conservation Act. It was hoped that driver safety would be enhanced by lowering speeds.

Now comes data from the Auto Insurance Center supporting that original contention. The bottom line? Across the board, states with tougher driving laws see fewer motorists die on their roadways. It all starts with speed. Speed limits vary by states for good reasons. You can drive faster safer in rural Texas or Wyoming than in urban New York or Illinois. But where speed limits are higher, fatalities are also more common. Of the four states (South Dakota, Wyoming, Idaho, Texas) with the highest allowable speed limits (70 mph across the board), the highest death rates in the country exist in two of them (Texas, Wyoming), with 3.6 fatalities for every 100,000 car crashes.

And do seat belts save lives? Apparently. Only six states plus the District of Columbia impose fines greater than $76 for seat belt violations. And not coincidentally, those states also have the lowest seat belt-preventable fatality rates. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that another 2,814 lives could have been saved the year before last if all drivers and passengers had worn seat belts.

The Advocates for Highway and Traffic Safety group has identified 15 kinds of laws for all states to pass to make the roads safer, from learners’ permit regulation and booster seat requirements to texting-while-driving bans.

“For any governor or state legislator or police chief or sheriff interested in moving their states toward zero deaths,” says transportation safety advocate Bill Bronrott, “we know the exact laws and programs and policies that need to be put into place to keep our families whole and our circle of friends intact.”

At Gross & Son Paint and Body Shop, we value your life as well as your business. Our passion and ability to restore autos of all makes and years still thrives after 68 years, so if you have a gem that needs restoring or if your regular vehicle is in need of collision repair or some automotive detailing, come see the kingpins of paint and body at Gross & Son.

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