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Roadway Safety Laws

November 18, 2010

The Emergency Nurses Association released a report examining the roadway safety laws in all 50 states and Washington D.C.. After evaluating 14 different categories, Florida was given an average rating for car accident laws.

The 2010 ENA National Scorecard used several types of legislation for their ranking: seat belt use, child passenger safety, graduated drivers licensing for teens, all-rider motorcycle helmet requirements, ignition interlock devices to prevent drunk driving; entering, sending, reading, or retrieving data for all drivers using cell phones or other interactive wireless communication devices; and the authority to develop, maintain and evaluate a state trauma system. Each state then received 1 point for each type of legislation. The report included distracted driving laws for the first time ever.
Only Oregon and Washington met all of the ENA criteria, followed by Tennessee which implements all but one. The report urged each state to consider implementing more laws to ensure highway safety. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, every 12 minutes there is a traffic related fatality. Furthermore, every ten seconds, someone is taken to the a hospital emergency room for injuries sustained in a car accident. The ENA has urged states to enact and pass more and better roadway safety laws in order to aid in the prevention of crash related injuries and deaths.

According to the National Highway Safety and Transportation Administration, 5,474 people died in distraction-related car accidents in 2009. Cell Phones alone amounted to about 18 percent of all fatalities. Due to the rising numbers, 26 states and Washington D.C. have passed laws that apply to the entering, sending, reading, or retrieving data other than for emergency purposes on cell phones while driving.

Treatment for victims of car accidents has also become a primary concern as the ENA report indicates that 47 states have passed laws that allow for a statewide trauma system. ENA President Diane Gurney stated that “timely and appropriate care can be the crucial difference in whether a car accident victim survives or dies.” Establishing a trauma system will aid in the care of seriously injured victim and can essentially save their life.

With I-95 in South Florida being one of the nations deadliest highways, the ENA report suggests implementing strict Florida car accident laws to reduce the number of serious car accidents and injuries.

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