March 14, 2011
US News and World Report recently ranked all states based on their driving laws and road conditions, Virginia ranked 33. The report was compiled using ratings from the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
The report suggests that Virginia needs to toughen laws on cell phones and seat belts, and install more red light cameras in order to make the roads safer for teen drivers. Lawmakers agree.
"We have good laws in Virginia, but they could be a lot better, we really need a primary seat belt offense law that will really require people to buckle up or get a ticket," said Delegate David Toscano.
Right now not wearing a seat belt is only a secondary offense in Virginia, meaning you can only receive a ticket if you are pulled over for another offense.
The report ranks the Commonwealth's red light camera and seat belt laws as inadequate, and DUI and distracted driving laws as failing.
"Our ranking is not that great, over time we will move up in the rankings, as secondary laws become primary laws," said Toscano.
The trend can be seen across the country.
"Ultimately we will get a primary seat belt law, ultimately we will get some sort of a law having to do with distracted driving and texting while driving," added Toscano.
However, it takes more than new laws. Toscano says the key to safer roads is education.
"You can have the best laws in the books, but if people do not understand what the laws are and what they mean and why they are there, they will continue in their bad behavior that will put them at risk and other people at risk," added Toscano.