Roadway Safety Act bill introduced - News, Weather and Sports for Lincoln, NE; KLKNTV.com

Roadway Safety Act bill introduced

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By: Brittany Paris
bparis@klkntv.com

Many people say if Nebraska is serious about making the roads safer, stricter laws must be put in place.

"There's really no sense in having a law in the books if you're not willing to enforce it," Rob Reynolds, Omaha, said.

Reynolds says a moment of distraction changed his life forever.

He says a teenager using a cell phone ran a red light and slammed into his daughter's car in Omaha in 2007, killing 16-year-old Cady Reynolds.

Now, he's working to save other lives. He and others headed to the Capitol on Thursday, showing their support for Sen. John Harms' Roadway Safety Act bill.

It looks to make texting and seatbelt laws primary offenses. Right now, they're secondary offenses, meaning you can't be pulled over or ticketed unless you're stopped for another violation.

Sen. Harms says this is the wrong message to send to young drivers.

"I know that if we make this primary, it will give law enforcement people the tools they need, the strength that they need to start correcting some of the issues," he said.

Studies have show that distracted driving is just as deadly as drunk driving.

"If drinking and driving laws were secondary offenses, people couldn't be pulled over for them," Reynolds said. "Just think about the impact that would have on safety."

"We can prevent a lot of deaths," Sen. Harms said. "We can prevent permanent injuries for children, young adults and citizens by simply addressing this issue."

Nebraska is just 1 of 4 states that enforce distracted driving as a secondary law. And is 1 of 17 states without a primary seatbelt law.

Harms says his main goal with this bill is to put the brakes on distracted driving.

This proposal has failed in the past, but Sen. Harms is hoping he'll have success this year.

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