The recent release of the 2019 Roadmap of State Highway Safety Laws has indicated that every state has room for improvement, some more than others. In 2017, there were more than 37,000 fatalities linked to motor vehicle accidents. The Advocates for Highway & Auto Safety suggest if every state passed at least one safety measure this year, a substantial increase in occupant protection could be accomplished.

Advocates have identified 16 lifesaving laws that states need to implement for optimal safety. The 16 optimal safety laws are categorized into 5 sections.

Occupant Protection

  • Primary enforcement seat belt law
    • Front seat
    • Rear seat
  • All-rider motorcycle helmet law

Child Passenger Safety

Teen Driving—GDL

  • Minimum age 16 for learner’s permit
  • 6-month holding period provision
  • 50 hours of supervised driving provision
  • Nighttime driving restriction provision
  • Passenger restriction provision
  • Age 18 for unrestricted license

Impaired Driving

  • Ignition interlock devices for all offenders
  • Child endangerment law
  • Open container law

Distracted Driving

States are assigned a green, yellow, or red color based on the number of optimal safety laws they have implemented. There are 6 green states, 33 yellow states, and 11 red states. A state that has repealed an existing all-rider motorcycle helmet law within the previous 10 years is not eligible to receive a green rating.

Green states:

  • 11-16 laws, one of which must be a primary enforcement front and rear seat belt law; or
  • 9 or more laws, which include a front and rear primary enforcement seat belt law and an all-rider helmet law
  • The six green states include Washington, Rhode Island, Oregon, Louisiana, District of Columbia, Delaware, and California. Four of the 6 states have all three occupant protection laws, primary enforcement front and rear seat belt laws and all-rider motorcycle helmet laws.

Red states:

  • Less than 7 laws, without a front and rear primary enforcement seat belt law
  • South Dakota has the most room for improvement with the lowest number of suggest traffic safety laws implemented, 2 out of the 16. The only two currently enacted include a Nighttime Driving Restriction Provision and an Open Container Law.
  • Wyoming is the second worst, with only 3 of Advocates’ safety laws.

Yellow states:

  • 6-10 laws with a front and rear primary enforcement seat belt laws; or
  • 7 or more laws, without front and rear primary enforcement seat belt laws


In addition to receiving a yellow state rating, Indiana placed #32 in a study that ranked states by best and worst drivers in 2018.

In Indiana there were 914 fatalities in 2017 and 7,876 fatalities in the past 10 years. The Advocates’ report indicates that Indiana needs to implement 7 new laws to decrease motor vehicle injuries and fatalities. The seven laws include:

  • All-Rider Motorcycle Helmet Law
  • Rear Facing Through Age 2 Law
  • Booster Seat Law
  • GDL—Minimum Age 16 for Learner’s Permit
  • GDP—Stronger Nighttime Restriction
  • GDP—Age 18 for Unrestricted License
  • Ignition Interlocks for All Offenders

Were You Injured in an Indiana Vehicle Accident? Call the Law Office of Bill Hurst for Help

Were you injured in a traffic accident in Indiana? Contact The Law Office of Hurst Limontes LLC online or call us today at (317) 636-0808 for a free consultation.