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Oregon, Washington State Doing the Most to Promote Roadway Safety, According to New Emergency Nurses Association National Scorecard

WASHINGTON, Nov. 19 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- At a time when tens of thousands of Americans are injured or die on our nation's roadways each year, Oregon and Washington state received top scores in a new roadway safety scorecard released today by the Emergency Nurses Association (ENA). Arkansas, North Dakota and South Dakota received the lowest scores. The report, 2008 ENA National Scorecard on State Roadway Laws: A Blueprint for Injury Prevention, examines roadway safety laws in all 50 states and the District of Columbia and scores each based on 13 criteria.

The 2008 ENA NationalScorecard ranks states based on 13 types of legislation that address: seat belt use; child passenger safety; graduated driver licensing for teens; universal motorcycle helmet requirements; ignition interlock devices to prevent drunk driving; and giving the proper officials the authority to develop, maintain and evaluate a state trauma system. States received one point for each type of legislation. Oregon and Washington were the only states to receive the best possible score of 13. Arkansas scored only three points, and North Dakota and South Dakota scored only four points each.

"Every year, there are more than 40,000 deaths on our nation's roadways," said ENA President Denise King, RN, MSN, CEN. "We can reduce those numbers and we know how. When it comes to injury prevention, the public is in the driver's seat. We must call on our policy makers to pass laws that are proven to reduce injuries and fatalities. Across the country, emergency department nurses, who treat roadway accident victims every day, are encouraging more and better traffic safety laws."

The ENA released its first National Scorecard in 2006. That year, Arizona received the lowest score. In the intervening two years, the Arizona Emergency Nurses Association (AZENA) has worked with state lawmakers to enact five new safety laws and regulations recommended by ENA. Since 2006, only seven states - Alabama, Arkansas, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, Wisconsin and Wyoming - failed to make progress in increasing the number of recommended roadway safety laws.

This year's ENA NationalScorecard reviews laws to prevent repeat drunk driving infractions and laws that help ensure that motor vehicle accident victims get appropriate care. For the first time, it reviews state laws affecting ignition interlocking devices (IIDs), which prevent motor vehicles from starting until the driver has provided an alcohol-free or low blood-alcohol level breath sample. Studies show that IIDs can reduce repeat Drinking While Intoxicated rates by 40 to 95 percent. Twenty-seven states have passed IID laws that at a minimum mandate the devices for hardcore drinkers and meet ENA's criteria. By ensuring the appropriate level of care for motor vehicle accident injuries, statewide trauma systems can play a crucial role in preventing those injuries from becoming deaths.

"Perhaps more than anyone, an emergency nurse understands the role of immediate and appropriate care in preventing injuries from becoming fatalities," said King. "While most people can choose where they receive routine health care, victims of motor vehicle accidents usually have no alternative. They are taken to the closest health care facility. A trauma system ensures that crash victims are taken to trauma centers that can provide the type and level of care commensurate with their injuries."

Today in the United States, more than 45 million people do not have access to high-level trauma care within an hour after injury. Forty-six states and the District of Columbia have passed legislation that will allow them to develop and maintain statewide trauma systems. The most recent states to pass such legislation are Kentucky and South Dakota.

State legislative information in the 2008 ENA National Scorecard on State Roadway Laws: A Blueprint for Injury Prevention is current as of October 22, 2008. The full report is available online at

About the Emergency Nurses Association

The Emergency Nurses Association (ENA) is the only professional nursing association dedicated to defining the future of emergency nursing and emergency care through advocacy, expertise, innovation, and leadership. Founded in 1970, ENA serves as the voice of more than 35,000 members and their patients through research, publications, professional development, injury prevention, and patient education. Additional information is available at ENA's Web site,

SOURCE Emergency Nurses Association
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