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Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Kentucky Earns National Highway Safety Group’s Highest Ranking

National Highway Safety Advocacy Group Recognizes Kentucky as a Top-Performing State

In its fourth annual highway safety report, the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety named Kentucky as one of only 16 green light states and one of only four "Best Performance States" in the nation.

The highest of three Advocates' ratings, the "green" rating is based on a state's adoption of optimal safety laws. A "yellow" Advocates rating calls for improvement in a particular state. When a state falls seriously behind in safety-related legislation, a "red" rating is assigned.

"From day one of this administration, a principal focus has been to save lives on Kentucky's roadways," said Bill Nighbert, Transportation Cabinet Secretary. "Governor Fletcher championed three critical pieces of highway safety legislation in 2006. We're beginning to see the tangible results of the Governor's leadership, with lower highway fatality numbers. Others around the nation are beginning to take note of Kentucky's highway safety initiatives, too, and we're very grateful for the recognition from Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety."

2006 was a landmark year for Kentucky in terms of highway safety legislation. In addition to passing a primary seatbelt law, which is the jewel of the Highway Safety Legislative package, the 2006 Kentucky legislative session expanded Kentucky's Graduated Driver's License Program when it passed House Bill 90. With one of the highest teen crash rates in the nation, Kentucky's HB90 establishes an transitional period of six months between obtaining a learner's permit and being granted an unrestricted license.

House Bill 272, Kentucky's "Quick Clearance" law, was another measure that became law in 2006. It confronts not only the problem of motorist safety, but also clogged interstates and parkways in the aftermath of traffic accidents. The law also enables incident management procedures to be codified for "Quick Clearance."

"While there is still much work to do, Kentucky deserves special kudos for passing several important safety laws in 2006," Advocates President Judie Stone said. "Paramount among them is primary enforcement of Kentucky's seatbelt law and the excellent teen driving measures that were adopted. Kentucky now deserves our "green" rating. Congratulations, Kentucky."

"While we lost 79 fewer lives on the roadways of this Commonwealth last year, compared to 2005, we are striving for much lower fatality rates in 2007," commented Commissioner of Transportation Safety, Tim Hazlette. "We will leave no stone unturned in our effort to find ways to save more lives. We also want the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety to see 'green' every time they see Kentucky."

Based in Washington, D.C., Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety is a partnership of insurance, consumer, health, safety and law enforcement organizations that work together to advance state and national highway and safety policies. The complete "Roadmap to State Highway Safety Laws" report can be found at:

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