Nurses' group ranks Md. high-middle on safety laws
The Emergency Nurses Association ranks Maryland on the high side of middle-of-the-road in the strength of its traffic safety laws, having adopted 11 or its 14 legislative recommendations.
The nurses group put Washington and Oregon at the top of its rankings, with perfect scores of 14, with Tennessee right behind at 13. North Dakota ranked the lowest, with 4 of 14. South Dakota, Iowa and Idaho ranked close to the basement with 5.
The association has develpoed a series of criteria on which it scores the 50 states and the District of Columbia. They include seat belt laws, motorcycle helmet laws, child booster seat requirements, enhanced requirements for young drivers to obtain a license, texting bans, drunk driving laws and establishment of a state trauma system.
Maryland was marked down for not requiring seat belt use for all car passengers, for allowing motorcycle helmets that don't meet federal specifications and for not having a strict enough limit on the number of young passengers a teen-age driver can transport. Studies have shown the number of fatal crashes increases dramatically when 16- and 17- year old drivers have multiple young passengers in the car with them.
The association said 38 states, including Maryland, and the District of Columbia have enacted laws since the 2008 version of the report that have improved their scores. Twelve states, including Virginia and Pennsylvania, have not.
The Emergency Nurses Association calls itself a professional association with 35,000 members dedicated to advocacy for emergency care.