Nebraska Ranked Among Most Dangerous States for Driving - KHGI-TV/KWNB-TV/KHGI-CD-Grand Island, Kearney, Hastings

Nebraska Ranked Among Most Dangerous States for Driving

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Getting behind the wheel in Nebraska may not be as safe as you think.

The state is considered one of the most dangerous to drive in, according to a report out Wednesday. The report said the state's laws simply are not tough enough on drivers who break the rules of the road.

This annual report grades all 50 states based on 15 basic traffic safety laws and Nebraska falls short in the rankings.

The group, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, wants Nebraska legislators to strengthen laws to improve safety issues on the road.

Driving could be one of the most dangerous act the average person does in their day, but there are ways to decrease the dangers faced on the roads.

"Unfortunately, Nebraska got one of the worst ratings," said President Jacqueline Gillan of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety (AHAS). "Of the fifteen laws, Nebraska only has five of them and that needs to change."

the group said motor vehicle crash deaths were on the rise in Nebraska and they believe there are actions that could be taken to the lawmakers  to make Nebraska roads safer.

In Nebraska most road safety laws are secondary, meaning you have to be stopped first for a different violation. AHAS said this can be confusing for drivers and doesn't do enough to deter poor driving habits.

"It really sends a mixed message," said Gillan "It says we think this is an important and we want to pass this law because we want to keep you safe, but on the other hand don't worry about getting a ticket if your engaged in this risky behavior because we are not going to give you a ticket unless we see you do something else."

For example, something as simple as buckling up can reduce fatalities on the roadways drastically, yet the statistics are troubling.

"If we look back on the last 20 years, we've lost over 3,300 unbelted Nebraskans on Nebraska roadways. We know that this can be changed," said Rose White, Public Affairs Director of Nebraska AAA.

The proposed Nebraska Roadway Safety Act was introduced to the Legislature Tuesday, with over 20 senators supporting it. The proposal could change seat belt laws, child passenger laws, texting and driving, and graduate licensing laws and would move Nebraska's ranking from the worst to the safest in the group's report.

"It would basically call to move all those secondary measures to primary enforcement," said White.

Gillian said that the research and study behind the main components of this proposed law show it could be a very effective tool in reducing motor vehicle crash, deaths and injuries.

"If we pass this law we too can see the benefits that the other states are seeing," added White.

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