Friday, March 8, 2013

Washington ahead of the curve in traffic safety

The National Conference of State Legislatures just released their latest report on statewide transportation policy, titled “Traffic Safety Trends: State Legislative Action 2012.”

Interested to see how Washington compares to the rest of the nation? Here are some of the highlights from the report and where our state stands:

Impaired Driving Issues

·       “In 2012, lawmakers in 44 states introduced more than 400 bills related to impaired driving.”
      Washington has introduced a variety of impaired driving, including stricter penalties for driving drunk with children in the car, stricter penalties for drive with a BAC above .15, and requiring ignition interlocks after the first DUI offense.

Distracted Driving

·        “Since 2000, legislatures in every state, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico have considered legislation related to distracted driving and driver cell phone use. In 2012, legislators in 36 states considered 165 driver distraction bills.
      Washington was one of the first states to pass legislation that prohibited texting while driving, sparking similar bills across the nation
S      Speed Limits
·        “In 2011, 23 states considered bills regarding speed, including increasing fines for speeding, setting speed limits, and punishing serious speeding offenders in school or work zones.”

·        Last year the House of Representatives passed legislation that would allow municipalities to lower speed limits on certain neighborhood loans. It was not passed by the Senate, but a new version has been reintroduced this year by Representative Cindy Ryu (D-Shoreline).

 Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety

·         “Pedestrians and bicyclists are among the most vulnerable users of roadways. In 2012, 39 states considered more than 200 bills regarding pedestrian and bicycle safety.”

·        Washington has enacted multiple pieces of legislation to protect cyclists and pedestrians, including stricter penalties for vulnerable users and requiring bicycle and pedestrian safety training in driver’s education.

The full report is available online here.

Read this story in Spanish.