Annual report card grades states on traffic safety laws

States need stronger enforcement for laws governing texting while driving, graduated driver licensing programs and ignition interlocks for drunk-driving offenders, according to the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety's annual report, released Jan. 11.

The report (.pdf file) graded states on their adoption of 15 model laws divided into five categories: adult occupant protection, child passenger safety, teen driving/graduated driver licensing systems, impaired driving and distracted driving. New to the list of model laws is an all-driver text messaging ban and two additional restrictions for teen drivers in GDL programs.

The District of Columbia, New Jersey and Illinois were highlighted for holding the top three best report card ratings, while South Dakota topped the worst-performing list for falling "dangerously behind" in the adoption of key laws based on the overall total number of laws implemented in those states in 2009. Eight other states made the worst-performing list -- six of which (Arizona, Virginia, Vermont, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Nebraska) were new to the list.

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