Virginia gets low marks for road safety

RICHMOND, Va. (AP/ABC7) - Virginia gets a low rating from a highway safety advocacy group because it doesn't have laws a primary seat belt enforcement law and several other measures.

A report released Wednesday by Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety gives Virginia a red rating. That means the commonwealth has fewer than seven of the 15 laws that the group considers optimal for highway safety. Seven other states also received red ratings.

Virginia is listed under the group's "worst states" indication, saying the Old Dominion lacks, among others, a primary seatbelt law and an open container law.

MORE: Read the full report here (.pdf)

The best rating, green, was given to the District of Columbia and 17 states.

Included in the list of 'green' states is Maryland. States that got the highest rating have at least 10 laws regulating highway safety, including considering seatbelt laws primary offenses.

Maryland is singled out by the group, among other states, for not having a mandatory ignition interlock law, though.

The remaining states received a yellow rating.

According to the report, Virginia lacks restrictions on teen drivers and a ban on texting by all drivers. The commonwealth also needs tougher impaired driver laws.

The report says motor vehicle accidents cost Virginia's economy $5.2 billion annually.