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Auto Safety in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana: How Do Traffic Laws Compare?

Most drivers in the greater Cincinnati area are aware that when they cross state borders between Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana, there are a few differences in highway safety laws. A quick trip on I-275 from Harrison or Cleves via Lawrenceburg to the airport in Kenton County passes through the jurisdictions of three highway patrols and other local law enforcement agencies that enforce distinct sets of laws.

The group Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety combines the input of various consumer groups, health policy experts and auto insurance providers to encourage states to adopt innovative laws that reduce motor vehicle accidents and thereby decrease injuries and save lives. All three states could make some progress with respect to the Advocates’ recommendations for advancement of highway safety.

Among the measures recommended by Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety that are enforced in every one of these states: an open container law and a graduated drivers licensing law requiring a six-month holding period and 30 to 50 hours of supervised driving. However, the group recommends at least a half dozen new laws in each of these states that would reduce the incidence of motorcycle, car and truck accidents:

  • A primary enforcement seat belt law (Ohio)
  • A booster seat law (Ohio and Kentucky)
  • A text messaging restriction for all drivers (Ohio)
  • An all-rider motorcycle helmet law (all three states)
  • A child endangerment law (Indiana)
  • An ignition interlock law (all three states)
  • Night driving restrictions for young drivers (all three states)

Yet sometimes progress seems to be heading in the wrong direction down a one-way street. A southwestern Ohio legislator recently introduced a bill that would increase Ohio’s highest speed limit to 70 miles per hour, as it is in Kentucky and Indiana. One national study showed that over 12,000 highway accident deaths in the U.S. during a recent 10-year period could be attributed to increases in speed limits.

Of course, not every aspect of driver negligence can be legislated away, and personal responsibility to drive safely is an important part of holding drivers accountable if and when they cause harm. A car accident attorney can explain the role of traffic law violations and other factors after any crash that causes personal injury or a wrongful death.

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