Roads in the tri-state receive low marks in latest federal highway safety report

Roads in the tri-state receive low marks in latest federal highway safety report

Recently, the tri-state region scored low in the national highway safety report. The Report says South Dakota and Nebraska need much improvement in adopting more roadway safety laws on distracted driving and child passenger safety.

The 2023 Highway Safety Report says South Dakota and Nebraska have less than five out of the recommended 16 laws needed for safety. The report marked Nebraska and South Dakota in red.

“(Nebraska and South Dakota) received a red or danger denoting they are significantly lagging in the adoption of the recommended laws,” said Mary Jagim, Past President, Emergency Nurses Association Consumer Co-Chair of the Advocates’ Board.

Iowa scored a little better and was given a yellow for road safety, a cautionary score.

“The majority of states received a yellow or caution,” Jagim said, “indicating that improvement is needed.”

Iowa has adopted only seven of the 16 laws including prohibiting drivers from sending, receiving, or reading a text message from any handheld device, except in an emergency. Other Iowa laws include the Primary Enforcement Seat Belt Law and 70 Hours of Supervised Driving Provision for Teen Driving Safety. All three Siouxland states carry the Open Container Law, bridging gaps in alcohol-impaired driving on the roads.

The report aims to offer guidelines and data for states to consider when introducing new laws. This includes closing gaps in laws addressing drunk driving, distracted driving, seat belt and child safety seat use, motorcycle helmet use, and new this year – automated speed enforcement.

The report also highlights data on vehicle crash deaths.

In Iowa 356 people died last year, South Dakota saw 149 deaths and in Nebraska, 218 deaths.

According to the report, motor vehicle crashes claimed nearly 43,000 lives in 2021.

“Across the nation, “494” countermeasures are needed to bring all states in line with the optimal criteria, the roadmap to safety acts as a compass, by following this guide we can prevent crashes and fatalities,” said Jagim.

Read the full story at the Siouxland News.