If Ohio was to be assigned a grade relating to its support for and adherence to core safety recommendations enumerated by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) as a means to reduce car accidents and traffic-related fatalities, it might be a "C."
That is, not sterling, yet not too bad. And when compared to other states, distinctly middle of the road.
The IIHS says that, while accidents are occurring with less frequency than in prior years, there is no way to downplay the nearly 33,000 motor vehicle deaths that occurred in 2010. The institute recommends that states fully adopt a few select safety measures that it says will have a noticeably positive effect on preventing accidents if implemented.
The recommendations are, overall, well known and already in effect -- either partially or fully -- in many states. They centrally include the following:
- Teen graduated licensing program (Ohio has one, in effect since 1999)
- Mandatory motorcycle helmet use (Ohio has a "partial" law, i.e., only riders and passengers under 18 are required to wear helmets)
- Primary seat belt law (Whereas a clear majority of states have a primary law, Ohio is not of them, having a secondary law that requires a motorist to be stopped first for another offense before he or she can be ticketed for not using a safety belt)
- Sobriety checkpoints (Ohio state law holds that these are legal, and has implemented them for over 20 years)
- Camera-assisted technology to stop speeders and motorists who run red lights (unlike many states, Ohio has no state law on this, but programs do operate under local ordinances)
The IIHS also recommends that every state look closely at its posted speed limits and consider lowering them where possible.
Related Resource: Consumer Reports, "IIHS: 7 countermeasures to reduce motor vehicle crash deaths" Aug. 18, 2011