OMBUDSMAN ALERT: Keeping a hawk eye on auto safety

Ombudsman Alert sits in on National Webinar hosted by leading auto safety ‘Advocates’  

BY DR. LOUIS ALPERT

Ombudsman

The Ombudsman Alert [this author] was invited to participate in the National Webinar held by the ‘Advocates’ on January 22. 

The purpose of the webinar was to emphasize that adopting proven state safety laws and existing advanced vehicle technology is the “safest route” to curbing the frightening 100 daily crash deaths and 6,500 daily injuries in our nation due to auto accidents. Jackie Gillan, President Emeritus of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, opened his webinar by emphasizing the poor record of most of our individual states and D.C. in passing the 16 essential laws needed to protect lives on America’s Highways as strongly recommended by the Advocates for many years.

The ranking of all 50 states as well as D.C was divided into three broad categories: “Best States,” “Worst States,” and “Other States.” Any state without a primary seatbelt law covering all seating positions (front and rear) or that has repealed an existing all-rider motorcycle helmet law in the previous 10 years is not eligible for a green (best state) rating.

The Advocates’ report gives every state and D.C. a rating in five categories (Occupant Protection, Child Passenger Safety, Teen Driving, Impaired Driving and Distracted Driving) as well as an overall grade of Green (good), Yellow (caution) and Red (danger), as stated above.

With the new (updated) standards in effect for 2018, both New York and New Jersey have lost their previous green rating and are now rated yellow. With this new revelation,  the Ombudsman Alert hereby challenges our state senator, David Carlucci, as well as our assemblypersons, Ellen Jaffee and Ken Zebrowski, to fight harder to insist that in New York State there will be a primary enforcement of the seatbelt law for all riders in each vehicle (front and rear). 

Ironically, the Ombudsman Alert columnist – yours truly – was Ralph Nader’s representative in the latter half of the 20th century, shortly after he demanded the use of seat belts in all vehicles for the first time in history.

The Ombudsman Alert will now give the breakdown by the Advocates of the best and worst states:

BEST states: Rhode Island, Delaware, Oregon, Washington, California, District of Columbia and Louisiana.

WORST states: South Dakota, Wyoming, Arizona, Florida, Iowa, Nebraska, Virginia, Idaho, Mississippi, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Vermont.

New York and New Jersey (as highly taxed as we are) are merely to be found in the yellow (caution) category as part of the undistinguished  middle of these ratings.

Please address all comments and questions to editor@rocklandcountytimes.com.