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California's driving laws could help auto insurance rates

California's traffic safety laws have helped lower traffic fatalities, which could help drivers in the state to see lower auto insurance premiums.

The state received top marks across the board on a recent ranking of traffic safety laws conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) in six key areas, including: DUI/DWI, young driver licensing, safety belt use, child restraint use, motorcycle helmet use and red light cameras.

Christopher J. Murphy, the state's director of the office of traffic safety, said the results of the IIHS ranking underscore California's recent success at improving safety on its roadways.

Murphy said seat belt use and child safety seat use was at an all-time high in 2008, while alcohol impaired and total traffic fatalities were projected to go down significantly.

Total traffic fatalities are projected to be down over 13 percent from 2007, translating into over 500 lives saved in just one year.

After a nearly two year process, California instituted a Strategic Highway Safety Plan in September of 2006 to significantly reduce deaths and injuries.

The safety initiatives could be paying off - a major auto insurance company recently announced a significant rate cut for its customers in the state.

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