This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2008, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Utah is improving its road safety laws, but is still lacking a few key provisions, the Emergency Nurses Association said in a report released this week.
Car seat laws for children up to age 8 and interlock device rules for drunken drivers, both new since the last report, improved the state's ranking on the nurses association's National Scorecard on State Roadway Laws. But the report knocked the state's lack of a law requiring people to wear helmet on a motorcycle.
"Last year, motorcycle deaths were a record high of 5,154 people -- the highest number since National Highway Traffic Safety Administration started collecting fatality crash data in 1975," the report said.
Motorcycle deaths in Utah hit a 23-year high this year, according to the Utah Department of Public Safety. The number of people riding motorcycles also increased.
Utah also lost points because it has no primary seat belt law, which allows police to pull people over for not wearing a seat belt. Police can now cite people if they don't strap in, but only if they've been pulled over for another offense.
Utah scored nine points out of 13 overall, putting it in the top half of states. Thirteen states ranked higher. The top states were Oregon and Washington, which both had perfect 13-point scores. Arkansas came in last with three points.
The scores were based on laws passed, not on how well they are enforced, or the number of roadway injuries and deaths. The nurses association's 13-point ranking system focused on child safety, driver's licensing, seat belt and helmet laws, in addition to a statewide trauma hospital system.
The national Emergency Nurses Association has 35,000 members, and does research, education and lobbying.