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Study: Florida Motor Vehicle Laws Among Least Safe In U.S.

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The Florida Highway Patrol kicked off their annual appeal to drivers to renew their awareness of the state's 'Move Over' law.

Whether it's a law enforcement officer, a road ranger or a towing company providing roadside assistance on the side of a road, motorists have an obligation to follow the law.

Meanwhile, troopers are aware of and will review a study by two safety advocate groups that criticizes the motor vehicle safety laws of several states, including Florida.

This includes laws to stop texting behind the wheel and that require all motorcycle riders to wear a helmet.

Safety advocates say states like Florida should be doing more to save lives.

"We can't go 15 minutes without a person killed in a motor vehicle crash," said Jackie Gillan, President of Advocates For Highway and Auto Safety.

Advocates for highway and auto safety just released a new roadmap, evaluating states on 16 traffic safety laws.

Rhode Island, Delaware, Oregon, Washington, California, The District of Columbia and Louisiana all scored in the green, with laws that enforce wearing seat belts in the front and back seat as well as text messaging restrictions.

States like South Dakota, Wyoming and Florida were at the bottom of 13 states landing in the red.

None have rear seat belt laws or rear facing car seat or booster seat laws crafted for child passenger safety.

Other Florida shortcoming include: no motorcycle helmet law, no text messaging restrictions and allowing those under the age of 18 to have an unrestricted driver's license.

"We urged state elected officials to use findings in the road map report to introduce, advance and pass new legislation this year," Gillan said.

This group is also advocating for automated enforcement, including speed & red light cameras.

"We have the technology to curb this deadly and dangerous behavior," said Melissa Wandall, President of the National Coalition of Safer Roads.

Additionally, advocates want to see collision avoidance systems in all vehicles not just as a luxury upgrade feature.

Additional Statistics From The Study:

2016 Fatalities: 3,174

10-Year Fatality Total: 27,033

Annual Economic Cost Due to Motor Vehicle Crashes: $10.750 Billion

Highway Safety Laws Needed in Florida:

Primary Enforcement Seat Belt Law (Rear)

All-Rider Motorcycle Helmet Law

Rear Facing Through Age 2 Law

Booster Seat Law

GDL - Minimum Age 16 for Learner's Permit

GDL - Stronger Nighttime Restriction

GDL - Passenger Restriction

GDL - Age 18 for Unrestricted License

Ignition Interlocks for All Offenders

All-Driver Text Messaging Restriction

GDL Cell Phone Restriction

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