Legislative Update on Issues Affecting Summer Travel Season

May 25, 2017|5:33 p.m.| Andy Baker-White

With Memorial Day and the summer travel season around the corner, it is important to remember several public health issues, including motor vehicle safety, cancer prevention, and mosquito control. Last week, the National Safety Council released a sobering prediction of the car crash fatalities expected during the upcoming holiday, while the National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention encouraged sun safety awareness by declaring May 26 as Don’t Fry Day. In addition, CDC continues to monitor the Zika virus, reporting over 600 symptomatic cases in the United States (n=119) and territories (n=495) through mid-May.

Throughout 2017, state legislatures have considered these issues with a variety of measures. A bill in Montana addresses motor vehicle safety by providing primary enforcement of seatbelt laws (SB 9), while a bill in Alabama (SB 73) requires seatbelt use by all automobile passengers as opposed to just front seat passengers. In addition, several state legislatures introduced bills allowing students and school personnel to possess and use sunscreen without a doctor’s authorization, with both Washington state (SB 5404) and Utah (HB 288) enacting school sunscreen laws. As far as mosquito control, a bill in Texas (SB 1695) would allow certain counties to establish urgent public health mosquito control districts and advisory committees as part of ongoing efforts to respond to the Zika virus.

ASTHO will continue to monitor state legislative activities and emerging trends as the summer unfolds. In the meantime, enjoy the weekend, and make sure to drive safe, use bug spray, and apply sunscreen.