Report: NC and SC Highway Safety Measures Need Improvement

There is a lot to love about life in the Carolinas. signal2.jpg

But as it turns out, when it comes to safety on the roads, we may be falling short, according to the latest annual report by the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety (saferoads.org).

Our car accident lawyers understand that the recently-released 2013 Roadmap of State Highway Safety Laws reveals there is much work to be done with regard to legislation that will improve our safety standing.

First, a little background:

Last summer, the president signed a two-year, multi-billion dollar initiative called the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) that offered states a number of monetary incentives to prompt the passage of 15 laws that would reduce traffic fatalities and injuries across the country. These advancements include:

  • Grants to encourage the passage of safer teen driving laws, such as GDL;
  • Enhanced safety regulations for motor coaches and motor carriers;
  • Mandated electronic systems to log travel time for interstate buses and trucks;
  • Improved child safety measures.
  • Grants to states that bar texting and cell phone use behind the wheel;
  • Money for high-visibility enforcement of anti-drunk driving laws;
  • Funding for states that enact ignition interlock programs for DUI offenders and for promotion of research on in-vehicle alcohol detection systems.
  • Beefed up commercial vehicle driver requirements.

Unfortunately, many states – including North and South Carolina – have been slow to move on any of it.

For starters, with regard to impaired driver laws, both states have been given a “caution” rating, meaning they have some measures in place, but could do better. Both have laws against open containers, mandatory roadside breathalyzer testing and enhanced penalties for when children are in the vehicle with a DUI offender. But both are lacking with regard to ignition interlocks.

With regard to laws restricting texting while driving, North Carolina passes the test, but South Carolina flunked and was given a “danger” rating.

In the realm of seat belt enforcement, North Carolina was given a “green light” rating, having made lack of seat belt usage a primary reason for law enforcement to stop motorists. South Carolina, however, was given a “yellow light” rating, for the fact that it has not made this a primary enforcement issue.

In profiling each state, the study indicated the following in North Carolina:

  • There were 1,227 traffic fatalities in 2011;
  • There have been 13,480 traffic fatalities in the last decade;
  • The annual economic cost due to traffic crashes is $8.27 billion;
  • The state is in need of graduated driver’s license laws that require driver’s with learner’s permits to be at least 16 and for drivers with unrestricted licenses to be at least 18;
  • The state is in need of laws that would require all DUI offenders to use ignition interlock devices.

In South Carolina:

  • There were 828 traffic fatalities in 2011;
  • There were 9,715 traffic fatalities in the last decade;
  • The annual economic cost due to traffic crashes is $3.34 billion;
  • The state is in need of graduated driver’s license laws, as well as laws restricting cell phone use and text messaging while driving;
  • The state needs tougher ignition interlock device laws.


If you’ve been injured, contact the Lee Law Offices today for a free and confidential appointment to discuss your rights. Call 800-887-1965.

Additional Resources:
10th Annual Roadmap of State Highway Safety Laws, January 2013, Saferoads.com

More Blog Entries:
Carolina Traffic Safety: Single Vehicle Crashes Can Be Dangerous Too, Jan. 6, 2013, North Carolina Car Accident Lawyer Blog

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