Federal safety officials want states to ban all cellphone use behind the wheel, especially texting. Nebraska officials see no need to change state law.
Gov. Dave Heineman regards the issue as serious, stating the Nebraska doesn’t want distracted drivers on its roads.
“So, again, to me it’s about individual responsibility and common sense,” Heineman says. “We don’t need big government telling us what to do in every aspect of our lives.”
The National Transportation Safety Board has recommended that all states ban cellphone use while driving. It is the first federal agency to call for an outright ban. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that distracted driving contributed to more than 3,000 deaths last year. The NTSB recommends that states ban all use of a cell phone while driving, both texting and talking. Thirty-five states ban driving and texting.
Nebraska prohibits driving and texting, but it’s a secondary offense. You have to be pulled over for a primary offense before you can be charged.
Speaker of the Legislature, Mike Flood of Norfolk, doesn’t see that changing.
“Obviously it’s a serious issue. It’s something we don’t want to happen in Nebraska,” according to Flood. “But, the legislature’s been very careful to not overstep that boundary, and I think for good reason.”
Flood sees no move to change state law.