Fatal crashes rise dramatically, Safety Council calls for new legislation

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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - With the number fatal crashes in the state rising every year, The Nebraska Safety Council is asking the unicameral to take action.

Nebraska has seen a 14 percent increase in fatal crashes in the last year, with 174 since January.

Just last month there were 28 fatal crashes. That's more than double the amount in August 2018.

Lissa Henning, executive director of the Council said these crashes often come down to two problems: distraction and seat belt use.

"I don't know that message is getting out to people that distracted driving kills," Henning said. "We've seen a huge increase over the last few years it's about 17 percent overall."

Henning said the legislature needs to tackle these problems, and soon.

"We've seen so much tragedy this year with young lives that should never have been lost so I would rather see us be proactive than reactive," Henning said. "I don't want to see more people die before we figure out we might wanna do something."

She said there needs to be a law allowing police to hand out tickets for cellphone use and for not wearing a seat belt.

Right now, drivers can get a ticket for not wearing their seat belts if police pulled them over for something else.
Henning said making seat belts a primary law could save 12 lives a year.