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Illinois Scores Well on Highway Law Report

Every year, a non-profit group known as Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety grades all 50 states and Washington D.C. concerning the implementation of road safety laws. Illinois is considered "significantly advanced" and has enacted 12 of the 15 laws recommended by the group. The grades are drawing increased attention after a lull in the passage of highway safety laws. With the surge in fatal accidents in the first three-quarters of 2012, safety regulators are examining what more can be done to prevent highway fatalities.

The AHAS recommended laws include seven aimed specifically at teen drivers. Another four laws target impaired driving. The remaining laws are a restriction on text messaging, primary enforcement of seat belt law, a booster seat law, and one that Illinois has not enacted, an all-rider motorcycle helmet law. No state has enacted all 15 laws recommended by the AHAS.

According to an AHAS press release, lawmakers have been lax in passing highway safety legislation due to steadily declining rates of road deaths. While there is some debate about the cause of the decline in motor vehicle fatalities, certain laws such as seat belt requirements and drunk driving enforcement are widely credited with having made driving safer.

In addition to the all-rider motorcycle helmet law, Illinois also failed to meet the AHAS recommendations for having a 16-year-old age limit on obtaining a learner's permit and for having a law fully restricting nighttime driving for teen drivers. New York was the only state to outperform Illinois, having enacted 13 of the laws recommended by the AHAS.

Source: USA Today, "Group: Strong road-safety laws are lagging in states," by Larry Copeland, 15 January 2013

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