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N.Y. leads nation in roadway fatalities countermeasures

New York is doing more than any other state to reduce injuries and fatalities on its roads, a new report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows.

Of the 11 possible countermeasures a state can take to help reduce highway fatalities, New York has implemented 10. Each of the other states and District of Columbia have implemented one to nine efforts.

The countermeasures include items such as revoking or suspending a driver’s license for refusing to take a blood alcohol content test, publicized sobriety checkpoint programs, seat belt enforcement and bicycle helmet laws.

The one countermeasure New York does not have in place involves the ability of law enforcement to stop drivers and issue citations for seat belt use violations, considered primary enforcement. Primary enforcement laws permit seat belt use law violators to be stopped and cited independently of any other traffic behavior. Secondary enforcement laws allow violators to be cited only after they first have been stopped for some other traffic violation.

“Here in New York, we are very proud of the aggressive approach we have taken to ensure that travel on our roads is safe for our residents, our children and our visitors,” said Terri Egan, acting chair of the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee and Department of Motor Vehicles executive deputy commissioner. “We were the first state in the nation to adopt a cell phone law, the first to adopt a motorcycle helmet law and the first to adopt a seat belt law. New Yorkers have always taken the lead in traffic safety, and this report reaffirms that what we do is working.”

New York’s fatalities per 100,000 people is 6.1, among the top four in the nation, the reports states. The District of Columbia has the lowest rate at 3.09. In Montana, which implements one highway countermeasure, the rate of fatalities per 100,000 people is the highest at 22.56.

New York’s DMV notes preliminary data show a 10 percent decrease in road fatalities in 2016, compared with a 6 percent increase reported nationally. Fatality data from the NHTSA report was from 2013.

Follow Velvet Spicer on Twitter: @Velvet_Spicer

(c) 2017 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-363-7269 or email madams@bridgetowermedia.com.

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