The Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety says states across the country have work to do to make people safer on the roads. The group just released its 2022 Roadmap of State Highway Safety Laws. 

The organization says highway fatalities are skyrocketing higher than they have before. 

Early estimates for 2021 suggest nearly a 20 percent spike in crash deaths, the highest six-month increase their researchers have ever recorded. 

“It’s really a call to action for state elected officials to see what their states are missing and to introduce legislation to make changes,” said President of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety Cathy Chase. 

According to the report, the states are graded red, yellow and green, with red as the worst and green the best. Indiana scored yellow. 

For Indiana specifically, Chase says the Hoosier lawmakers could look at making a few changes to improve the grade. 

“Indiana kind of falls in the middle, but it’s on the precipice of becoming green. If it were to enact, say, an all-rider helmet law, it would become a green state. Or if it were to enact a couple of other of the graduating driver licensing laws, for example, or the child passenger safety laws, it would get bumped up to green.” 

The areas the study looked at were laws to protect everyone in the vehicle, like seatbelt laws. It also looked at child passenger safety, impaired driving, distracting driving, and different laws to address teen driving safety. 

“This report is essential so that state elected officials know what can be done. They can pick up this report, they can look and see what’s happening in their states, and they can see what’s missing,” said Chase. 

“They can introduce legislation, and they can push legislation.”

Chase says they also make requests on a federal level for improvements made to the car. Some of the things they’ve pushed for in the past include rearview cameras made standard in vehicles. Now, they are looking for other features to be put into cars. 

“Right now, some of the newer cars have some features like automatic emergency braking, which has been proven to reduce and mitigate crashes, yet they’re not required in all cars. They are included as an option, or they’re included in the higher-end vehicles that not everyone can afford. So, we are pushing for them to be mandated in all new vehicles.” 

The organization says there are about 390 laws missing in states across the county that could save lives. 

The report also features a poll to show how drivers in each state feel about the laws and what they would like to see changed. 

“Elected officials are elected by the public. So, I think that they want their constituents to express opinions and say hey, this is important to us. We want to see you taking action and supporting and protecting the people that you were elected to protect.” 

Most states around Indiana also stack up to the yellow, except Ohio. The Buckeye state got a red rating. 

You can find the full report here