WASHINGTON — Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety released Wednesday a 2012 Roadmap to State Highway Safety Laws, grading each state in the country on implementation of 15 core traffic safety laws.

The organization, whose members include companies like Allstate Insurance Company and Liberty Mutual Group, identified eight states with the fewest laws protecting motorists.

“Unfortunately, many of the safety laws that would reduce deaths and injuries and costs to state budgets and taxpayers are simply not considered an urgent priority by our elected leaders and frequently end up in what I call legislative graveyards,” said Jacqueline Gillan, president of the advocates group.

The laws in question fall into five categories: adult occupant protection, child passenger safety, teen driving, impaired driving and distracted driving. These laws cover various traffic regulations, including requiring motorcycle riders to wear helmets, restricting texting while driving and installing ignition interlock devices for all those convicted of drunk driving.

For its overall state ratings, the group’s report also assigns each state a color code based on how many traffic safety laws it enforces, with green signifying the state is “significantly advanced toward adoption of all Advocates’ recommended highway safety laws.” States that are red have a low amount of the organization’s recommended laws, and yellow states are ones that have demonstrated progress but still need to meet necessary requirements.

The states with the lowest overall ratings are Virginia, Ohio, Mississippi, Arizona, Nebraska, South Dakota, Wyoming and Montana.

Currently, not one of the 50 states has all of the recommended laws, Gillan added.

“When a state delays, it is really our families that pay in their lives and in their wallets,” she said.

According to Dr. Ileana Arias, principal deputy director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 33,000 people die from motor crash-related injuries each year.

Teen drivers are also four times more likely to be involved in a crash than adult drivers, per mile driven, Arias added.

Tennessee resident Joe Polakiewicz, who also spoke at the group’s Washington news conference, broke his ribs, injured his spine and suffered a brain injury two years ago when he crashed his car on a back road. Doctors removed his left kidney and spleen. The accident occurred when he was 16 – two months after he got his driver license.

Polakiewicz attributes his crash to anger and inexperience.

“It’s not all fun and games in the car, it can happen to anybody,” he said. “I feel like every kid should take a driver’s ed class because if that happens, then they’d know everything to do whenever they got put into a bad situation because a parent doesn’t train a kid for all the bad situations that can happen.”

The organization says three steps are necessary to change drivers’ habits: enacting effective laws, educating people about these laws and enforcing them.

“When you have those three elements, that’s when you really change behavior,” Gillan said.

Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety will soon distribute the report to its partner groups and state legislators and governors.