Road safety inspectors place the mass in the “danger” zone

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The report says 115 people are “needlessly killed” on American roads every day

DEC. 6, 2022…..Massachusetts is one of nine states in the nation ranked lowest for highway and roadway safety, in part because of its opposition to seatbelt enforcement and the use of ignition interlocks for all impaired driving offenders, a new report concludes.

Highway and Vehicle Safety Advocates released it Tuesday morning The 2023 Roadmap is secureYIt is based on whether all 50 states have adopted the company’s “optimal laws” in six categories: occupant protection, child passenger protection, teen driving, impaired driving, distracted driving and automatic enforcement to limit speed.

Massachusetts is one of nine states with overall scores in the “at risk” range, “indicating that these states are dangerously behind in adopting advocate-recommended optimal laws.”

“In 2021, traffic deaths will reach nearly 43,000, and preliminary data for 2022 reveal that the figures will be much higher. This means that every day, 115 people are needlessly killed on our roads,” Highway and Auto Safety Chief Catherine Chase wrote in the report. She also said, “Over the past 20 years, more than three-quarters of a million people have been killed in motor vehicle accidents and 51.5 million injured, yet no state gets a perfect score in our annual ratings.

The Bay State scored a category “good” and received credit for prohibitions on distracted driving, texting and cell phone use. The impaired driving category ranked Massachusetts in the medium “warning” zone, slightly dinging the state for not having an ignition interlock for all offenders. Among the other four categories, Massachusetts fell into the “at risk” category.

“Four hundred and ninety-four countermeasures are needed to bring all states within the optimal criteria. Although the road to eliminating accidents is long, the Roadmap to Safety serves as a compass to guide it toward the goal,” Mary Jakim, consumer co-chair of the advocacy group and former president of the Emergency Nurses Association, said at a press conference. . “By following this guideline, accidents and deaths can be prevented, and the serious and often lifelong debilitating injuries that emergency nurses see tragically every day can be reduced.”

A spokesman for the Department of Mass Transportation said Tuesday that the department “has not investigated this particular report, however we welcome any opportunity to raise awareness of highway safety, which continues to be a local and national problem.”

Some of the issues that have plagued Massachusetts among advocates for highway and vehicle safety rankings are being debated, but haven’t gained traction on Beacon Hill for years.

Governor Charlie Baker has repeatedly introduced road safety legislation with some success. One of Baker’s policy proposals that the Legislature has consistently ignored is the idea of ​​moving the state away from the current secondary enforcement system for seatbelt use, in which motorists can only be cited for primary enforcement if they first notice another traffic violation. In this the police can pull someone over for not wearing a seat belt.

Supporters of the change say it will help boost the Bay State’s seatbelt use rate, but skeptics like House Speaker Ronald Mariano have “long been concerned about potential racial profiling with primary enforcement actions,” the speaker said a year ago.

The attorneys’ report took issue with the fact that Massachusetts does not have a law “[m]Installs Ignition Interlock Devices (IID) in vehicles of drunk driving offenders.

An alcohol ignition interlock device prevents the vehicle from starting until the driver provides a breath sample that registers below the lower limit for blood alcohol content. Massachusetts has required repeat impaired driving offenders to use ignition interlock devices since 2006. Mothers Against Drunk Driving Said As of 2017, 5,907 interlocks had been installed in Massachusetts, and from 2006 to 2018, interlocks stopped 39,482 drunk driving attempts.

After more than a decade of failed attempts, an amendment was added to require some first-time impaired drivers (those with impaired licenses after being caught driving with a blood alcohol content of 0.15 or higher) to use an ignition interlock device. In the 2021 fiscal year budget.

Most recently, in September, Baker co-authored a bill with lawmakers that would reduce traffic fatalities, saying they share a “mutual goal of improving highway safety.” ”

The House rejected Baker’s amendment in early November and adopted its own amendment offered by Transportation Committee Chairman William Strauss. Rep. Paul Donato, who presided over the session where the House adopted the Straus amendment, said the House had an agreement with the Senate on the amendment. “It has to be movable,” he said.

The Senate has yet to touch on the House’s further amendment and the bill is hanging in the Assembly.

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