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Highway safety group ranks states by their traffic laws

In the United States, traffic fatalities are on the rise. The group Advocates for Highway Safety has released a report on traffic safety that includes rankings of individual states based on their traffic laws. North Carolina ranked yellow in the color-coded ranking system, meaning it needs improvement in safe traffic laws. Only five states and D.C. ranked in the green, or very, safe range while 17 states received danger-zone ratings of red.

The rankings were based on the number of the 15 laws considered to be essential by the organization a state enforces as a primary law with no exceptions. The laws address seat belts, booster seats, teen driving and impaired and distracted driving.

The report ranked Rhode Island as the best of the green states for having instituted 12 of the 15 laws. The worst of the red states is South Dakota with only two laws. North Carolina enforces 10 of the laws, making it just one shy of the 11 needed for a green rating.

Advocates for Highway Safety identified a total of 376 laws it says should be adopted by all state legislatures. The group believes in the importance of laws for seat belt use that are enforced as primary laws for both front and back seat riders, graduated teen driving laws, motorcycle helmet laws, distracted driving laws and strict impaired driving laws.

When someone is injured in a car accident, he or she could file a personal injury lawsuit against the other driver whose negligence is believed to have been the cause. If another driver broke a law, that does not automatically signify guilt in a civil lawsuit even if he or she was convicted. At the same time, if a driver is not found guilty of breaking any laws, he or she could still be found guilty of negligence in a civil case.

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