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Massachusetts Traffic Safety Rating: Yellow

Massachusetts retained its mediocre traffic safety rating according to a national highway association. The primary area of concern in the second-rate grading is the lack of principal seatbelt law enforcement and five other specific statutes - all of which are designed to help protect drivers from severe Massachusetts car accident injuries.

The 2012 rating by the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety uses a color-coded rating system of green, yellow and red. The report, released in Washington, graded Massachusetts as "yellow" which is the same level the state received in 2011.

A yellow rating in the Advocates system rates the state enforcement as being "moderately positive" in performance while having several gaps in highway safety law.

The president of Advocates asserted that many states have an intolerable and potentially fatal breach in traffic safety law. Advocates looked at 15 statutes that have a positive impact on traffic safety and rated all 50 states and Washington D.C. based on that grading system.

Specifics of the Advocates Traffic Safety Study

The report says seat belts saved 81 lives in Massachusetts in 2009 but that at least 50 more could have been saved if the state had full compliance with the current seatbelt laws. Other important study statistics include:

  • Motor vehicle crashes kill 33,000 people and cost $230 billion annually.
  • Massachusetts crashes cost an estimated $6.28 billion each year.
  • Car crashes killed 314 people in Massachusetts in 2010.

Massachusetts, with nine enacted laws, is one of 25 states that have the middle range "yellow" designation by the Advocates study. The recommended laws include booster seat, child safety, motorcycle helmet laws and other safety regulations.

Massachusetts lost credit for not having sufficient interlock ignition system laws and other drunk driving related statutes that the study considered as necessary in primary enforcement of traffic safety. Hopefully Massachusetts will improve this rating next year.

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