For the second consecutive year, Louisiana was recognized Thursday for having 9 of 15 highway safety laws that a national group says are essential to trimming road deaths and injuries.
The report was compiled by Advocates for Highway & Auto Safety, which represents consumer, health and insurance interests.
“By closing these lethal loopholes we can save more lives,” the report says in its 12th annual review.
Louisiana was among 11 states and the District of Columbia that earned a “green” rating, which means it is well on its way to adopting all the measures considered essential by the group.
Laws that meet the organization’s standards include mandatory safety belt measures for front and back seats; a requirement that motorcycle riders wear safety helmets; and a rule that beginning drivers have to undergo at least 30 hours of behind-the-wheel training with an adult licensed driver.
One law that is missing from the group’s list would ban open containers of alcohol in the passenger area of a car or truck.
Louisiana allows open containers in some cases.
Lt. Col. John LeBlanc, executive director of the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission, said while he is pleased the state was listed as among the most compliant some changes are difficult to enact.
“You have to have the votes in the Legislature to do it,” LeBlanc noted.
“Every state is unique,” he said. “Here in Louisiana, we are very proud of our tailgating, Mardi Gras. Those things would be impacted.”
The report also faulted the state for its lack of laws to require booster seats through age 7, a driver’s license learning permit until age 16 and an unrestricted license at age 18.
The ages in Louisiana are 6, 15 and 17, respectively.
Other laws listed by the group that the state has include a ban on the use of cellphones while driving; ignition interlock devices for convicted drunken drivers; and a ban on text messaging while driving.
Louisiana had 703 motor vehicle fatalities in 2013, according to the report.
A total of 32,719 died in car and truck accidents nationally.
Follow Will Sentell on Twitter, @WillSentell. For more coverage of Louisiana government and politics, follow our Politics blog at http://blogs.theadvocate.com/politicsblog.