Report Highlights 2018 State Traffic Safety Trends


NCSL press release

Denver—In 2018, state legislators debated nearly 2,300 traffic safety bills. Hot topics included child passenger safety, older drivers, seat belts on school buses, and pedestrian and bicyclist safety, according to a report released by the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL).

The report, “Traffic Safety Trends: State Legislative Action 2018,” examines federal and state legislation, and provides tables and charts detailing state traffic safety laws.

Notable legislative trends included:

  • Pedestrian and bicyclist safety: It was an active year for bicyclist and pedestrian safety bills in 2018—39 states considered nearly 150 bicyclist and pedestrian-related bills, with 16 states enacting 32 bills of note. Areas of action included electric bicycles, safe bicycle passing, bicycle operation and equipment, school bicyclist and pedestrian safety, and driver’s education on bicyclist and pedestrian safety.
  • Automated enforcement: Twenty-nine states introduced 123 bills related to automated enforcement in 2018; however, many were bills that carried over from the 2017 session. Compared to previous years, there were more enacted bills concerning red-light and speed cameras in 2018, with five states—Arizona, Georgia, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island—enacting six new laws.
  • Drugged driving: Colorado and Vermont were the only states in 2018 to enact legislation directly related to drug-impaired driving.
  • Occupant protection: During the 2018 legislative session, 32 states considered bills related to seat belts. Utah was the only state to enact legislation in 2018.
  • School bus safety: Four states—Maryland, Nebraska, New York and Virginia—enacted legislation regarding school bus drivers in 2018.

View the report “Traffic Safety Trends: State Legislative Action 2018.”


NCSL is a bipartisan organization that serves the legislators and staffs of the states, commonwealths and territories. It provides research, technical assistance and opportunities for policymakers to exchange ideas on the most pressing state issues and is an effective and respected advocate for the interests of the states in the American federal system.