Orinda, California (EastBayDaily) — In recognition of April 2011 Distracted Driving Awareness Month, GJEL Accident Attorneys is highlighting the five worst states for road safety, based on teen driver and distracted driving laws, drunk driving penalties and statistics, bicycle safety laws, and motorcycle safety laws. The catastrophic injury and wrongful death law firm based in the San Francisco Bay area researched road safety laws and accident statistics in all 50 states. Concerned drivers should visit http://gjel.com/news for more distracted driving awareness information and resources.
“The National Highway Traffic Safety Institute is doing a great job trying to ensure motorists are safe on the nation’s roadways, yet there are a number of states that don’t have legislation in place to match that of other states,” said Andy Gillin, managing partner, Gillin, Jacobson, Ellis & Larsen. “The things we take for granted in California, for example, like helmet laws, teen driving permits, and mobile phone regulations are not enforced in South Dakota, Montana, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, or Idaho.”
Although road safety legislation can save lives and reduce car accident injuries, some states have openly opposed safer driving laws. The five worst road safety states, as determined by GJEL, are as follows:
1. South Dakota: Ignition interlock devices are not required, even for repeat DUI offenders. Driving permits may be obtained at age fourteen, with unrestricted licenses available to sixteen-year-olds. Only motorcyclists under age seventeen must wear helmets. Bicycle helmets are not mandated, even for children. Twenty-nine percent of South Dakota auto accident deaths are related to driving under the influence. 2. Montana: Ignition interlock devices are required only for repeat DUI offenders. Bicycle helmets are never required, with motorcyclists required to wear helmets until age seventeen. Unrestricted licenses are available to sixteen-year-olds. Permits are offered at fourteen years and six months of age. Forty percent of auto accident deaths in Montana are related to driving under the influence. 3. South Carolina: First-time DUI offenders are not required to install ignition interlock devices. Permits are issued age fifteen; one year later, teens are eligible for unrestricted licenses. Motorcyclists under age twenty must wear helmets, but bicyclists may ride bare-headed at any age. Forty-four percent of auto accident deaths are related to DUI. 4. Pennsylvania: Ignition interlock devices are never required. Driving permits are issued at age sixteen, with unrestricted licenses offered to seventeen-year-olds. Bike helmets are required for children ages eleven and under. Motorcycle helmets are required for drivers aged twenty and below. Thirty-four percent of auto accident deaths are related to DUI driving. 5. Idaho: Ignition interlock devices are not mandated, even for repeat DUI offenders. Permits are offered to teens at fourteen years and six months of age, with unrestricted licenses available to sixteen-year-olds. Bicycle helmets are never mandatory, but motorcyclists must wear helmets until they are seventeen years old. Thirty-four percent of auto accident deaths related to driving under the influence.
All five worst road safety states permit cell phone use and text messaging while operating a motor vehicle, although a “distraction in/on vehicle” in Idaho lists some common driver distractions. Four of the five states listed do not suspend driver’s licenses after the driver’s first DUI conviction. Idaho suspends first-time offenders’ driving privileges for 90 days.
About GJEL Accident Attorneys Gillin Jacobson Ellis & Larsen (GJEL Accident Attorneys) is a San Francisco Bay Area personal injury law firm established in 1972. The firm represents plaintiffs injured in California auto accidents and wrongful death incidents, and its attorneys were recently named among the best in America by Best Lawyers/US News & World Report. Read more about safe driving tips on the law firm’s News Center.
Gillin Jacobson Ellis & Larsen