Tougher Driving Laws Prevent Deaths, So Why Don't States Adopt Them?

A new study that compares how each of the 50 states regulates dangerous motorist behaviors has found that those with the toughest laws have the least traffic deaths. So why don't more states adopt “evidence-based policies”?
December 11, 2013, 1pm PST | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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"According to a new paper published in the journal Public Health, the states with the toughest driving laws saw an average 14.5 percent decrease in traffic fatalities compared to those with the most relaxed regulations," reports Sarah Goodyear. 

Why would some states choose not to adopt policies that have been shown to reduce fatalities? Arguments based on civil liberty grounds my be one reason. 

"Strict regulations on texting, or blood alcohol content, or graduated licenses, are sometimes opposed as intrusions on personal freedom," writes Goodyear. "But Silver says that 'nanny state' arguments commonly leveled against some other public health regulations don’t really make sense when applied to driving laws."

“People driving hit other people,” she says. “They are, in turn, hit by others. They have other people in those cars who don’t always have a choice to be there. That seems slightly different than arguing over the size of soda cups. Getting it wrong means that there are such egregious consequences. There are fatalities.”

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Published on Wednesday, December 11, 2013 in The Atlantic Cities
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