Legislation has been introduced which would enhance traffic safety laws requiring the use of seat belts, banning texting while driving, and enforcing Nebraska’s graduated driver’s license law.
National Safety Council of Nebraska President Beverly Reicks stated during a news conference at the Capitol today that if passed, the legislation would save lives.
“Too many Nebraskans are losing their lives on our roadways,” Reicks said. “On average, every two days, one person is killed in Nebraska as a result of a motor vehicle crash. Families are devastated and communities feel the loss. We can save lives simply by strengthening the laws that are already on the books.”
The three laws currently are secondary laws. Law enforcement officers cannot pull over a driver simply for not wearing his seat belt or for texting and driving or for any violations of the state graduated driver’s license. Someone can only be charged with violating the laws if pulled over for some other violation.
Sen. John Harms of Scottsbluff sponsors the Roadway Safety Act, which would in part strengthen enforcement of the Graduated Driver Licensing law.
“I think young, novice drivers, to be honest with you, have a lot of difficulty maneuvering all of the environmental options that they have, that are around them,” Harms stated. “They get lost in this whole thing about excitement and having kids behind them and talking to them, using that cell phone, or texting; that has bothered me for a long time.”
Harms called the proposed legislation comprehensive, pulling together legislation he has been working on during his eight years in the Unicameral.
The Nebraska Roadway Safety Act will be handled by the Transportation and Telecommunications Committee.
AUDIO: News conference at the state Capitol on the Nebraska Roadway Safety Act. [17 min.]