Report Highlights State Traffic Safety Trends in 2020


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For Immediate Release

July 12, 2021

Denver - State legislators debated nearly 1,400 traffic safety bills in 2020. Hot topics included alcohol and other drug-impaired driving, adult seat belt laws, child passenger safety, older drivers, seat belts on school buses, and distracted driving, according to a report released by the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL).

The report, “Traffic Safety Trends: State Legislative Action 2020,” examines federal and state legislation, and provides tables and charts detailing state traffic safety laws.

Notable legislative trends included: 

  • Alcohol and other drug-impaired driving: Lawmakers in 46 states considered more than 350 bills related to impaired driving in 2020, with over 60 bills enacted by 33 states. Laws addressed ignition interlock devices and restricted driving privileges, implied consent and testing laws, penalties, diversion programs and sealing and expungement of records, 24/7 sobriety and drug monitoring programs and treatment programs, among other topics.
  • Aggressive drivers: Over 20 states considered at least 52 bills related to aggressive driving in 2020. Two states—Maryland and Virginia—enacted legislation.
  • Automated enforcement: At least five states—Hawaii, Maryland, Ohio, Virginia and Washington—enacted notable laws in 2020 related to automated enforcement.
  • Distracted driving: Legislatures in 41 states considered more than 115 bills related to driver distraction in 2020. Enacted legislation mainly centered around hand-held bans for all drivers.
  • School bus safety: Five states—Delaware, Florida, Utah, Pennsylvania and Virginia—enacted six notable school bus safety bills in 2020.
  • Speeding and speed limits: In 2020, at least nine states—Colorado, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Mississippi, South Dakota, Tennessee, Vermont and Virginia—enacted legislation related to lowering speed limits, move over laws, raising speed limits and miscellaneous speeding laws.

View the report: “Traffic Safety Trends: State Legislative Action 2020

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.