The Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety (AHAS), a national group which encourages increased traffic safety, publishes an annual report which classifies all the states into three categories, Red Light, Yellow Light and Green Light. This classification is determined by comparing state driving laws to their own Recommended Optimal Safety Laws, a list of 16 laws that the group believes would make driving safer.
Their aim is to reduce or eliminate the 100 traffic deaths and 8,500 injuries sustained every day, due to traffic accidents on the roads of the United States. In their most recent annual report, published in January 2020, Nevada received an overall Yellow Light classification for 2019.
How AHAS rates the states
AHAS has divided states driving laws into five key areas of concern. They then compare state laws with their recommendations for optimal safety laws within each area of concern. The areas of concern and recommendations are: (laws which are already existing in Nevada traffic law are marked as bold and designated in parentheses)
- Occupant Protection
- Primary Enforcement of Front Seat Belt Laws
- Primary Enforcement of Rear Seat Belt Laws
- All Rider Motorcycle Helmet Law (Current Nevada Law)
- Child Passenger Safety
- Rear Facing Through Age 2 Law
- Booster Seat Law
- Teen Driving
- Minimum Age 16 for Learner’s Permit
- 6 Month Holding Period Provision (Current Nevada Law)
- 50 Hours of Supervised Driving (Current Nevada Law)
- Nighttime Driving Restriction
- Passenger Restriction
- Age 18 for Unrestricted License
- Impaired Driving
- Ignition Interlock Device for all Offenders (Current Nevada Law)
- Child Endangerment Law (Current Nevada Law)
- Open Container Law (Current Nevada Law)
- Distracted Driving
- All Driver Text Messaging Restriction (Current Nevada Law)
- GDL Cell Phone Restriction
There are 16 laws that AHAS advocates for all states to have, which correspond to the open bullet points above. For a complete explanation of how the comparisons are done and list of AHAS’s recommendations, click on the Report link at the bottom of this article.
How Nevada Rates under AHAS recommendations
Overall, Nevada complies with 7 of the 16 highlighted laws the group would like to see enforced. There are currently no states which have all 16 laws in place. Rhode Island comes the closest with 13 of the 16 laws in place. 7 states received Green Lights, with 33 states receiving Yellow Lights, and 11 states received Red Lights. The District of Columbia was included in the list of states reviewed as well and received a green light.
Nevada does best in this report under Impaired Driving, with all AHAS recommendations existing under Current Nevada Law. Child Passenger Protection and Teen Driving laws are the areas where AHAS recommends the most improvements to existing driving laws in Nevada.
The AHAS report does reference Autonomous Driving (AD) and believes that a well rolled out set of standards for AD can make the roads safer but concludes that may be years and perhaps decades before AD is rolled out nationwide. They do believe however, that many Driver Assistance Technologies should be made standard equipment on all vehicles and could be used now to make for safer roads. Currently available technologies included in the report are Automatic Emergency Braking, Lane Departure Warning, and Blind Spot Detection.
It’s up to the state legislature to make changes to existing law, and they won’t meet again until 2021. If you feel strongly that the recommendations of AHAS should be implemented in Nevada, you should contact your state representative to voice your opinion. This does give an interesting perspective into this group’s outlook of what would make the roads safer.
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