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Spangenberg Shibley & Liber LLP | Jan 21, 2019

Ohio Named Among Worst States for Auto Safety Laws

Auto collisions have long been a leading cause of injuries and death in the U.S. Because the risks of driving a motor vehicle are well known, our laws reflect the need to ensure drivers take steps to safely operate their vehicles, auto manufacturers make safe products, and victims in preventable auto accidents have rights when it comes to pursuing the justice and compensation they deserve.

Although the right to recover damages after a car accident is critical to protecting the lives and livelihoods of victims and their families, there’s no denying the civil claims are responsive in nature; they happen after wrecks have already occurred. As such, there are numerous advocacy groups, as well as caring and passionate civil trial lawyers like those at Spangenberg Shibley & Liber LLP, who frequently call attention to the need for better ways the prevent wrecks from happening in the first place.

While that’s a difficult task, there are definitely proven ways to promote safety on our roads, prevent accidents and deter dangerous driving, and reduce risks of victims suffering serious injuries or wrongful death in wrecks that do happen. It will, however, require a lot of work, particularly when it comes to enforcing existing traffic laws and enacting tougher ones.

Report Shows Ohio’s Need for Better Highway Safety Laws

According to a report recently published by the Advocates for Highway & Auto Safety, a public safety alliance organization, Ohio ranks among the worst states in the U.S. for roadway safety. As part of its 2019 Roadmap Report, the organization critiques states in five areas of highway and auto safety based on their current traffic and vehicle-related laws, including laws regarding:

  • Protections for vehicle occupants / passengers;
  • Child safety in motor vehicles;
  • Teen and young adult drivers;
  • Impaired driving, including both drugged and drunk driving; and
  • Driver distraction, cell phone use, and texting.

After assessing laws in these areas, Advocates assigns states one of three grades: Green for states which have implemented at least 11 of its 16 critical recommended auto safety laws, Yellow for states that could be doing more to ensure safety on public roads, and Red, which signifies states have dangerously lapsed behind most others in terms of enforcement and passage of highly important safety legislation.

With just 5 of the 16 critically recommended laws, Ohio earned the Advocates’ “Red” rating. As the report notes, state lawmakers would have to pass a number of legislative overhauls to ensure local law enforcement can better cite and deter dangerous driving habits, and pass tougher laws and restrictions against practices proven to increase risks of injuries and deaths in all types of crashes.

What’s Needed to Protect Ohio Motorists

To get out of the red, Ohio would have to adopt a number of the group’s recommendations, including:

  • Primary enforcement seat belt laws for all vehicle occupants
  • Better laws regarding booster seats, rear-facing requirements, and child safety
  • Mandatory helmet use for all motorcycle riders
  • Making 16 the minimum age for a driving learner’s permit
  • Restricting passengers and night-time driving for teen motorists
  • Making 18 the age for an “unrestricted” driver’s license
  • Mandatory installation of ignition interlock devices (IID) for every OUI / DUI offender
  • Enacting an open container law
  • Prohibiting text messaging behind the wheel.

Ohio may have some laws which partially address these concerns, but Advocates say they aren’t doing enough to keep local roads safe. For instance, the group is especially concerned with Ohio’s lack of “primary” laws, which are laws that allow police to stop and cite motorists for things like not wearing a seat belt without having to see the motorist commit some other type of “primary” traffic infraction first, such as making an unsafe lane change or speeding.

Spangenberg Shibley & Liber LLP: Cleveland Car Accident Lawyers

As a personal injury law firm that has been fighting for seriously injured victims and families throughout Ohio since 1946, Spangenberg Shibley & Liber LLP is well aware of the devastation preventable auto accidents can cause. We commend these types of tougher laws, having seen many victims harmed directly as a result of problematic behaviors such as driver distraction and repeat drunk drivers, as well as families who have lost loved ones in fatal wrecks involving similar causes.

Our work as trial lawyers means we fight for these victims and their loved ones in the civil justice system, where we seek to hold wrongdoers accountable for their negligence, and liable for the damages our clients suffered – including their medical expenses, physical pain, emotional suffering, lost income, and more. Even with the best of laws, unfortunately, we know negligent motorists will likely continue to harm others. Should that happen to you or someone you love, our award-winning team is here to help.

If you have questions about a recent auto accident in Cleveland or anywhere in Ohio, give us a call at (216) 600-0114 or contact us online for a free consultation with one of our experienced attorneys. We can explain how you may be entitled to financial compensation, and what we can to do help you fight for what you deserve.