In 2014, the mayor of New York City launched an initiative designed to eliminate all traffic deaths on city streets. Since then, many other cities around the country have initiated similar programs. The effort to keep people safe on the street, however, may not always rely solely on local municipalities. State traffic laws play an important role as well. The Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety recently released a report grading every state and Washington, D.C. on the strength of their traffic laws and the ability of those laws to protect residents. 

As explained by Forbes, the 2020 Roadmap of State Highway and Safety Laws handed out green, yellow and red ratings in the report. New York State received a yellow rating, indicating more can be done to prevent accidents and vehicular deaths by strengthening laws. Only eight green ratings were granted, four of which were in the northeast: Washington, D.C., Rhode Island, Delaware and Maine. Three other northeastern or eastern states – Virginia, Vermont and New Hampshire – received red ratings. The vast majority of states received the yellow rating, highlighting the risks people across the country continue to experience. 

Some of the laws reviewed to determine the report’s ratings included phased or graduated driver’s license programs for new drivers, requirements for the use of seat belts or child safety seats or restraints, and distracted driving. 

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration records show that despite an overall decline in traffic deaths in 2018, New York State did experience an increase in fatalities associated with drunk driving or those involving motorcycle riders and pedestrians.