AIA Commits to Moving Forward Critical Highway, Auto Safety Ideas

January 6, 2006

The American Insurance Association (AIA) has commended Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety for issuing a report entitled, 2006 Roadmap to State Highway Safety Laws: Players, Politics and Progress. A copy of this report can be viewed on the group’s Web site at

Every day, motor vehicle crashes exact an enormous toll on society by causing deaths, injuries, and property damage resulting in an annual cost of $230 billion. These costs are sustained first and foremost by crash victims and their families, but also by insurance consumers through higher than necessary premiums, by employers through lost productivity, and by taxpayers who pay a large amount of crash-related medical costs. Therefore, auto insurers’ interests – increasing safety and preventing losses – are directly in line with the reforms called for in this report.

“Due in part to highway safety progress to date, the frequency of injury claims has been held close to 1987 levels, although the cost of each claim has increased significantly due to the increase in the cost of medical care,” explained David Snyder, AIA vice president and assistant general counsel. “There is no doubt that highway safety has helped to restrain insurance costs.”

“This report could be likened to an ambulance, which while very important, is only as effective as the driver and the emergency medical technicians inside,” continued Snyder. “AIA’s state and federal lobbyists, like the critical personnel in the ambulance, are essential to making the key recommendations in this report, such as primary enforcement seat belt laws and graduated licensing programs, a reality and we are committed to doing so.”

The Advocates’ study rates each state and the District of Columbia on their progress in adopting 14 essential laws to reduce the number of serious injuries and fatalities. Each year, motor vehicle crashes cause 42,000 deaths and 3 million injuries, and are the leading cause of death for Americans from childhood through their thirties.

One of the essential laws that the study cites is the enforcement of primary seat belt laws. A recent study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) found that when states strengthen their seat belt laws – moving from secondary enforcement to primary enforcement – driver death rates decline by an estimated 7 percent.

“There is absolutely no question that seat belts save lives and prevent injuries. In fact, seat belt requirements are the most important highway safety measures that can be enacted,” said Snyder.

“This report is a comprehensive source for anyone interested in highway safety and makes it clear that while progress has been made, many more states need to enact critical safety measures. AIA has representatives in every state capital who will use this report’s roadmap to constantly looking for opportunities to enact the life-saving legislation recommended by this report,” Snyder concluded.

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