A national highway safety organization lists Nebraska among the “worst states” for traffic safety measures.
The group Advocates for Highway & Auto Safety ranked the 50 states based on 15 “optimal laws.” Cathy Chase, Vice President of Governmental Affairs for Advocates, says Nebraska has adopted only five of the 15 laws her group endorses.
“When elected officials in state capitals don’t act to pass laws, we all pay the price,” Chase said. “Lives are lost, lifelong and debilitating injuries occur and state costs mount because of inaction and indifference.”
Nebraska is one of 11 states to receive a “red” rating — meaning the states are “dangerously behind” in the adoption of Advocates’ optimal laws.
Some laws Nebraska “lacks,” according to the group include: a primary enforcement seat belt law, a booster seat law and a law barring drivers from text messaging.
Nebraska requires the use of helmets for all motorcyclists, one of 18 states with such a law. Last year, an effort was mounted in the Unicameral to repeal the law, but it failed. Senator Dave Bloomfield of Hoskins has said he may try again to introduce the legislation in the 2014 session.
Jacqueline Gillan, the Advocates president, says lawmakers in 11 states last year considered, but ultimately rejected efforts to repeal mandatory helmet laws.
“Every year, these laws are under attack and motorcycle fatalities have more than doubled since 1997,” Gillan said.
The study found the best states for traffic safety include: Illinois, Oregon and Delaware, while those at the bottom include: South Dakota, Mississippi and Iowa.
Eight people have been killed on Nebraska’s roads so far this year, compared to 12 fatalities statewide by this date a year ago.