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Traffic law report indicates Connecticut has room to improve

A new report about states and their traffic laws reveals that Connecticut may not be as well off as some lawmakers would think. Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety is the group responsible for the report, which gave Connecticut a "yellow" rating (on a green/yellow/red rating system) because the state does not require passengers in the back seats to wear a seatbelt, nor does the state require motorcycle riders to wear helmets.

That last part is particularly important. Since 1997, motorcycle accident fatalities in the U.S. have doubled. Nearly 5,000 people died in 2012 as a result of a motorcycle accident, which is a 7 percent jump from 2011.

While a helmet does not guarantee that a motorcyclist will walk away from an accident without a serious head injury, it does increase a motorcyclist's chances of such an outcome. That's the crucial factor here: a helmet is not a cure-all, thus it may not be seen as important as it really is. Some motorcyclists may prefer to ride with it off.

That choice is yours to make under Connecticut law; but remember the danger you are putting yourself in. Even if the accident is minor and you don't suffer any injuries, your lack of a helmet could result in your insurance companies raising your rates. More important, though, is your safety and wellbeing. A helmet increases your chances of surviving a wreck.

A similar line of thinking can be applied to seatbelts. Yes, you have the choice to not wear them in the backseat -- but why take that risk? It is unnecessary. Wearing that seatbelt increases your chances of avoiding serious injury in an accident.

Source: New Haven Register, "Safe driving laws lacking in Connecticut, report states," Ed Stannard, Jan. 22, 2014

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