While moderate improvements have been made, "lethal gaps" remain
A traffic safety group analyzing road safety laws in all 50 states and the District of Columbia says that while Pennsylvania's laws have improved compared to a few years ago, it is still well behind what would be considered ideal, according to the Times Herald. The group says that the state has made some improvements in its safety laws, but that significant gaps remain, particularly when it comes to reducing motorcycle deaths and DUI-related accidents.
The group, Advocates for Highway & Auto Safety, graded all 50 states and D.C. based on whether they had implemented traffic laws that the group considers integral for keeping people safe on the roads and highways. During its previous assessment, the group gave Pennsylvania a red grade, indicating the state suffered from some of the most outdated traffic safety regulations in the country.
Since then, Pennsylvania's status has been upgraded to yellow, meaning that moderate improvements have been made. However, the group notes that the state still falls well behind states that received a green grade, such as Delaware, California, and Illinois, which have instituted most of the group's recommendations.
Safety laws lacking
One of the major problems cited by the group in assessing Pennsylvania's traffic laws is that the state does not require motorcyclists to wear a helmet. As the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports, the state had such a requirement for 35 years before it was repealed in 2003. The University of Pittsburgh says that in the year following the repeal head-injury fatalities soared by 66 percent and hospitalizations by 78 percent.
The group also noted that the state can do more to crack down on drunk drivers. Pennsylvania currently only requires people convicted of multiple DUIs to install an ignition interlock device in their vehicles. The group wants Pennsylvania to join a growing number of states that require the devices for first offenders as well, noting that the devices have been proven to dramatically reduce DUI recidivism and accident rates in states where they are mandatory.
While Pennsylvania's laws are improving, as the above story shows many serious gaps remain that could potentially place countless motorists at risk. Even with stronger laws, however, the sad truth is that dangerous and reckless drivers will continue to make Pennsylvania's roads and highways dangerous places for other motorists.
Anybody who has been injured because of the dangerous decisions made by another driver should contact a personal injury attorney today. There is no excuse for reckless decisions such as drunk or distracted driving and a qualified attorney can help accident victims understand what options, including compensation, may be at their disposal following an accident.