Nebraska scores very favorably on a new ranking of the states for preventing fatal injuries, which can include everything from car crashes and drug overdoses to dating violence and workplace accidents.
Richard Hamburg, deputy director of the Trust for America’s Health, says one place where Nebraska is ahead of the curve is with its requirement for ignition interlocks for convicted drunk drivers. The devices prevent someone who’s been drinking from being able to start the car.
“Nebraska’s one of 21 states that have these interlocks even for first offenders,” Hamburg says. “In the areas of homicides and child abuse and neglect, the state falls below the average, which is a good thing.”
The study found Nebraska has the 9th lowest serious injury rate in the nation, down from 7th in the last rankings, done in 2012. It found 52 injuries per 100,000 people in Nebraska, while the national average is 58.
Hamburg says there’s still plenty of room for the state to improve, like with what’s known as a primary seat belt law.
“While in 34 states, a police officer can pull somebody off the road specifically for failing to wear a seat belt, it’s not the case in Nebraska,” Hamburg says. “Those laws, when they’re in place, are found to generate higher use of seat belts, 88% use.”
The study also examined each state for any restrictions placed on the youngest drivers, and Nebraska came up short.
“The state does not restrict driving for teens after 10 PM, a time when many if not most of the fatal injuries occur,” Hamburg says. “That’s an area where the state can do better. Also, the state does not have a bicycle helmet law, while 21 other states do.”
Nebraska has a prescription drug monitoring program in place but it’s not mandatory for doctors to use it, which can allow so-called doctor shopping and the continued escalation of prescription drug abuse.
See the full report at: www.healthyamericans.org