Group pushes for new legislation to make Texas roads safer

Published: Jan. 18, 2013 at 2:08 AM CST|Updated: Jan. 18, 2013 at 2:22 AM CST
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Amarillo, TX - Texas legislators could do more to reduce wrecks like these through stronger traffic laws, according to a recent report.

Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, a lobbying group in Washington, just released their annual report card for state traffic safety records - and Texas didn't do well.  According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were about 32,310 people killed on U.S. roadways in 2011 - and about ten percent of those fatalities came out of Texas.

The advocacy group is continuing to push state legislators to enact fifteen specific laws concerning motorcycle helmets, booster seats, and texting, to name a few -- Texas is actually one of only fifteen states that does not have any statewide texting laws.

Jackie Gillan, President of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, says simple legislation is key to improving public safety on our highways, saying, "It doesn't make sense when we're looking at the death and injury toll in Texas that they lack some of these fundamental laws that we know will go a long way towards saving lives and reducing death as well as the economic cost."

Projected traffic fatalities for 2012 predict a seven percent increase over last year, which would be the largest jump since 1975.  The causes are many and arguable, but some contend the solution lies in legislation.

"There's a lot of talk right now about the flu epidemic that is affecting about half the states," says Gillan.  "We have a highway crash epidemic that's affecting every single state, and we have a vaccine to cure it: we have these laws that we know will bring down deaths and injuries."

Last July, President Obama enacted the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act, or MAP-21.  The law provides financial incentive programs and grants to encourage states to adopt the suggested laws.

If you'd like to learn more about the report or delve into the statistics for yourself, follow the links attached to this story.