Residents in California may know that their state often leads the nation in taking major steps toward protecting its residents. For example, California was an early adopter of the required use of ignition interlock devices for drunk drivers to prevent repeat offenses. The state was also among the first to enact legislation designed to crack down on the handheld use of phones while driving. 

California’s safety laws have contributed to it as being only one of seven states or districts to receive a green, or passing, grade in the recently issued 2020 Roadmap of State Highway Safety Laws. All three states along the west coast received this rating as did the District of Columbia, Louisiana and three northeastern states. Neighboring Nevada and Arizona, however, received red or failing grades in the report compiled by the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety. 

Forbes indicates that the grades were issued after reviewing each state’s laws on things like graduated driver’s license programs, child and adult safety belt or seat requirements, distracted driving and more. 

Despite its positive grade, California clearly has room to improve when it comes to keeping people safe on the roads. In 2018, a total of 3,563 people were killed in motor vehicle accidents in California. According to records from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the number of deaths in 2018 was slightly lower than in 2017 or 2016 but was the third highest in the prior ten years. Between 2009 and 2018, it was 2010 that recorded the least number of vehicular fatalities in California. That year, 2,270 lives were lost on roads and highways statewide.