Report critical of Nebraska highway safety laws - News, Weather and Sports for Lincoln, NE;

Report critical of Nebraska highway safety laws

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By: Ashley Harding

Pulling out onto the highway is always a risk, no matter where you live. But here in Nebraska, many drivers, including Joel Johnson, say they feel comfortable on our roads. They also say our laws are good.

 "I feel pretty safe. Sometimes you see some people going fast, but you have a lot of patrol officers out," said Johnson.

But according to a report released by a group called Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, we're not making the grade. This year, they've ranked Nebraska in the red, meaning the state is way behind in adopting key safety laws. Fred Zwonechek with the Office of Highway Safety says despite the bad report card, Nebraska crash fatalities have steadily gone down over the years. That's with more drivers hitting the roads.

"It's really looking at just the public policies you have in place, not your performance," said Zwonechek. So, exactly what laws does the group say are missing? It says not wearing your seatbelt and texting and driving should be primary offenses. They also say there should be a minimum age of 16 for earning a learner's permit. They also believe booster seats should be used for kids up to age 7. We asked what you thought.

"That's the worst because I think people, when they're text driving, it's pretty much like they're drunk," said Johnson. 

"I have a grandchild that's probably almost as big as I am. I can't imagine me in a booster chair," said Debi Stracham.

Highway safety officials say they're not worried. Zwonechek says he cares more about crash results and numbers. Those are numbers he's certain will continue to go down.

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