Calif. Ahead of Curve On Commuter Safety Laws: Report - NBC 7 San Diego

Calif. Ahead of Curve On Commuter Safety Laws: Report

Drivers in San Diego still say the roadways aren’t safe enough.

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    Calif. Roads Among Safest in U.S.: Study

    California streets are among the safest in the U.S., according to a new study that looked at state laws and enforcement. NBC 7's Bridget Naso has more. (Published Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2019)

    California, compared to other states, is ahead of the curve when it comes to implementing roadway laws that keep commuters safe.

    According to the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety (AHAS), a little more than 37,000 people died on U.S roadways in 2017. The organization says car crashes are the leading cause of death for Americans age 5 to 34 years old.

    In California, more than 3,600 passengers were in killed in auto crashes in 2017. But the AHAS says California, 5 other states and Washington D.C. are “significantly advanced” when it comes to adopting recommended laws.

    Drivers in San Diego still say the roadways aren’t safe enough.

    “Slowdown. Slowdown. Everybody's in a hurry,” one driver said.

    AHAS’s ratings are based on the number of vital laws in place in each state. California has 10 and other advanced states have 9 or more. South Carolina (2) and Wyoming (3) are at the bottom of the organization’s rankings.

    Vital laws include restrictions on cell phone use, which driver Sean Muth said is one of the scariest things she sees on the road

    “I think that's my biggest issue, biggest concern I have when I am driving. Especially when I have my son in the back and I'm looking over like ‘Oh my God.’”

    California is also at the forefront of restricting driving under the Influence (DUI). A law implemented at the beginning of 2019 allows judges to require some drivers convicted of DUI to use an ignition interlock device.

    One way drivers can help keep themselves safe – in addition to following safety laws already in place, of course – is driving cars with technology that help reduce accidents.

    “My car lets me know when there's somebody on my left, somebody in my right, you know, backing up is easy because I've got a camera in the back,” driver Natalie Gerard said.

    Statistics show automatic emergency braking, also known as AB, has been shown to reduce rear-end crashes with injuries by 56 percent.

    And not only do crashes cost lives, they also land an estimated $836 billion punch on the economy every year, according to AHAS.

    AHAS says every American pays an annual $784 “crash tax.”

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