Plan the route. Buckle up. Take your time.
That’s the advice of the Nebraska State Patrol this Independence Day holiday as Nebraskans hit the road.
Colonel David Sankey, Superintendent of the Nebraska State Patrol, says a few precautions can lead to a good outcome.
“We want folks to just take their time, slow down and pay attention to all the traffic that’s going to be out there on the roadway, we think having troopers out there is a great reminder of that,” Sankey tells Nebraska Radio Network.
The patrol is using a $28,000 Nebraska Office of Highway Safety grant to add 57 extra troopers on the 4th to increase visibility and decrease traffic wrecks. The extra troopers fanned out across the state beginning Tuesday. They will be patrolling Nebraska roads through Sunday, the 8th.
Last year, Nebraska saw roadway fatalities drop to historic lows. They are up this year. At this time a year ago, 81 people died in traffic wrecks on Nebraska roads. So far this year, 95 people have died in traffic accidents.
“So, we’re up a little bit and we’re doing our best to try and keep that number down,” Sankey says. “We’re encouraging folks to be careful, wear your seat belt. That’s a very important factor. Of those fatalities so far this year, 37 of them have been from roll-over accidents and only two people of those 37 were wearing their seat belts. So, it’s critical that you wear your seat belt.”
To prepare for your trip, check on Nebraska’s Advanced Traveler Information Systems for road conditions and links to weather forecasts. The website also includes the locations of construction zones.
The main piece of advice Sankey wants to get across to drivers is: pay attention.
“I know there are a lot of things in the vehicle that can distract a person, but really the driver needs to be focused on the roadway and what’s going on in front of them,” says Sankey. “If a person does that and they wear their seat belt, I’m confident that they’ll get to their destination safely.”
AUDIO: Brent Martin interviews NSP Superintendent David Sankey about saying safe during holiday travel. [4:30]