Arizona has second-worst traffic-safety laws in the nation

Arizona got a failing grade Wednesday from a national highway safety group that said the state has adopted fewer than five of the 15 laws the group considers basic to traffic safety.

Only South Dakota ranked lower than Arizona in the ninth annual report from the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety. It rated Arizona poorly for its failure to adopt strict laws on teen driving, seat belt and motorcycle helmet use, and distracted driving, among others.

Arizona has “some of the weakest laws and yet they’re surrounded by states that have better laws,” said Jacqueline Gillan, the group’s president. “This is really a call to action for Arizona to step up and start passing these laws.”

Her group said crashes killed more than 700 people in Arizona in 2010, at a cost estimated by state officials at $2.7 billion.