PHOENIX — Approximately three people were killed on Arizona roads each day in 2021, according to data from the Arizona Dept. of Transportation.
A new assessment from a highway and auto safety group highlights nearly a dozen laws Arizona could implement, that may reduce deaths and injuries from motor vehicle incidents.
The numbers are alarming. 42,915 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes across the country in 2021 – an increase of 10.5% over 2020, according to the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety. 1,180 of those killed in 2021 died on Arizona roads. ADOT reports motor vehicle crashes resulted in $20.156 billion in economic losses to the state.
The Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety assessed Arizona’s traffic safety laws and ranked the state’s laws on a number of categories including child passenger safety, teen driving, occupant protection, among others. The group says implementing these laws in the state are “critical to reducing motor vehicle deaths and injuries.”
Under child passenger safety laws, Arizona was put under the ‘danger’ category because the state doesn’t have the following three laws:
- Booster Seat Law: Requires that children who have outgrown the height and weight limit of a forward-facing safety seat be placed in a booster seat that should be used until the child can properly use the vehicle’s seat belt in a rear seat. This usually occurs when the child reaches 57 inches in height and is older than age eight. The booster seat should be certified by the manufacturer to meet U.S. DOT safety standards.
- Rear Facing Through Age 2 or Older Law: Requires infants and toddlers to remain in a rear-facing child restraint system in the rear seat from birth through age two or longer. After the child reaches the maximum weight and height limit for the rear-facing safety seat, the child may be placed forward-facing in a harness-equipped child restraint system. The child restraint system should be certified by the manufacturer to meet U.S. DOT safety standards.
- Rear Seat Through Age 12 Law - Requires children age 12 and younger to be properly restrained in a rear seat.
Under the teen driving safety laws, Arizona was put under the ‘danger’ category because the state doesn’t have the following four laws:
- Minimum Ages for Learner’s Permit and Licensing: A beginning teen driver must be at least 16 years old to obtain a learner’s permit and 17 years old to obtain a license.
- 70 Hours of Supervised Driving Provision: A beginning teen driver must receive at least 70 hours of behind-the-wheel training with an adult licensed driver.
- Nighttime Driving Restriction Provision: Prohibits unsupervised driving starting at 8 p.m.
- Passenger Restriction Provision: Prohibits non-familial teen passengers from riding with a teen driver without adult supervision.
Under occupant traffic safety laws, Arizona was put under the ‘danger’ category because the state doesn’t have the following three laws:
- Primary Enforcement Front Seat Belt Law: Allows law enforcement officers to stop and issue a ticket for a violation of the seat belt law for front seat occupants. No other violation need occur first.
- Primary Enforcement Rear Seat Belt Law: Requires that all occupants in the rear seats of a vehicle wear seat belts and allows law enforcement officers to stop and issue a ticket for a violation of the seat belt law. No other violation need occur first.
- All-Rider Motorcycle Helmet Law: Requires all motorcycle riders, regardless of age, to use a helmet that meets U.S. DOT standards
The Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety ranked Arizona under the ‘caution’ category for distracted driving, meaning there could be better laws in place. The group gave a ‘good’ rating when it comes to impaired driving laws and automated enforcement to curb speed.
A press conference by the group will be held in Washington D.C. on Tuesday at 10:30 a.m. MST. This story will be updated following the press conference.
12News on YouTube
Catch up on the latest news and stories on the 12News YouTube channel. Subscribe today.