Total traffic fatalities this year are trending downward, but there is a disturbing down side to the good numbers.
First, the good news.
Nebraska has recorded 133 total traffic deaths so far this year, down from 146 at this time last year.
Now, the bad news.
Motorcyclist and pedestrian deaths have not seen a real drop.
The Nebraska Highway Safety Office reports 19 motorcyclists have been killed in traffic wrecks this year compared to 22 during the same timeframe last year.
There have been 13 pedestrians killed on Nebraska streets and highways so far this year, compared to 12 over the same period a year ago.
State Highway Safety Administrator Fred Zwonechek notes Nebraska has topped 100,000 motorcycle licenses.
“There’s more of them and likely there is more riding activity this time of year, in particular because it’s generally dry, we don’t have a lot of rain this time of year. So, it’s a good time for riding season,” Zwonechek tells Nebraska Radio Network.
Motorcycle deaths have been an increase the past few years. Zwonechek says the state had averaged 16 motorcyclist deaths over the past five years.
Commonalities are hard to find among the pedestrian deaths, according to Zwonechek, except that some have been due to drunk drivers or drunk pedestrians. He says some pedestrians have been killed crossing the middle of the street, rather than at a crosswalk; many at night.
A National Highway Traffic Safety Administration study of fatal wrecks last year found 94% were due to driver error, or miscalculation, or negligence.
“We can prevent every one of these if we pay attention and that’s really critically important,” Zwonechek says.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:50]