Don't Drive in Virginia

Maryland and D.C. are in the green

By Asha Beh
|  Friday, Apr 5, 2013  |  Updated 1:38 PM EDT
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Don't Drive in Virginia

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WASHINTON - NOVEMBER 24: Heavy traffic congestion is seen on Interstate 395 November 24, 2004 in Washington, DC. The day before Thanksgiving is traditionally the busiest travel day in the United States. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

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When it comes to highway safety, Virginia is in the red zone.

Red meaning dangerous and bad, bad, bad, according to the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, which also ranked Maryland and the District in the green, for good.

According to the group's recently released Roadmap Report to State Highway Safety Laws, Virginia failed to pass muster on 10 of 15 optimal standards set by the group, including requiring blood-alcohol testing in fatal accident cases, banning open containers, mandating use of an ignition locking device that keeps people convicted of drunken driving from driving drunk again, and requiring applicants to be 16 before obtaining a learner's permit, the Washington Post reported.

Virginia could also do a better job with secondary enforcement, i.e., a law that can only be enforced if you've already been stopped for another violation. The advocacy group's president, Judith Lee Stone, told the Post that the state "could raise some of these secondary laws into primary enforcement." That would at least get Virginia out of its low status on the list.

Of course, Virginia's not the only state ranked in the red. Wyoming, Nebraska, North and South Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Vermont and Arizona scored poorly on the report, too.

But across the Potomac, Maryland and D.C. were in the green, along with nine other states, including New York and California. Maryland scored an 11.5 out of 15, while the District earned an impressive 13.5.

The District and Maryland both got high marks for mandatory motorcycle helmets, stricter seat-belt enforcement, child endangerment law, open container bans, tougher drunken driving laws, and all-driver text messaging restrictions.

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