Report: Florida Needs More Traffic Laws

WASHINGTON, DC (970 WFLA) -- A group that lobbies for highway safety measures at the federal and state levels ranks all 50 states according to whether they've passed 16 new traffic laws... and gives Florida a red light because it's only passed five. 

Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety held a news conference in Washington. It's the group that coined the phrase "designated driver." AHAS is a coalition of safety activists and insurance companies, and it has a laundry list of laws it wants all 50 states to pass. No state has passed all 16, but several have passed enough to get a "green" rating from AHAS. 

Florida gets a "red" light though. AHAS says Florida lawmakers need to enact primary enforcement for rear passengers using seat belts, meaning police can pull you over if your rear seat passengers aren't buckled up. 

AHAS also wants to make it a law that children under two are riding in rear-facing child seats, and new laws on booster seats. AHAS says Florida should raise the minimum age for a learners permit to 16. It also wants more restrictions on 16 and 17 year old drivers. 

AHAS also calls for more restrictions on cell phone use and texting while driving, as well as ignition interlocks for all DUI offenders. 

One of its spokespeople is Melissa Wandall of Bradenton, who lost her husband in a crash involving a red light runner and pushed for legislation promoting red light cameras at intersections. 

"We need (Florida) policymakers to stand up, stand beside us, and take action," Wandall said. 

AHAS says that even though automakers and lawmakers are devoting a lot of attention to self-driving cars, it will take decades before computers are driving most vehicles on the road, and laws will still do a lot to increase safety. 

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