Pennsylvania received the worst ranking possible in a 2010 national highway safety study.
In the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety score sheet, the state fell from last year’s ‘Yellow’ grade to a ‘Red’ designation due to its failure to strengthen distracted and drunk driving laws, among other issues.
Pennsylvania enforces its seatbelt law only when another traffic infraction occurs, making it a secondary offense. AHAS Vice President Jacqueline Gillan says that should be more stringent.
“This doesn’t make sense. Secondary enforcement laws are weak, they’re impossible to enforce, and we’re sending the wrong message to the public when we do that,” says Gillan.
The state also lacks a helmet law for motorcyclists, and most of the recommended teen driving provisions.
Gillan says Pennsylvania should also require breathalyzers to be installed in the vehicles of all drunk drivers, not just multiple offenders.
Legislation to prohibit text messaging while driving has passed committee in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, but the bill would make distracted driving only a secondary offense with a maximum fine of $100.