Committee Hears Passenger Seat Belt Bill

BEATRICE – Seat belt legislation was before the Nebraska Legislature’s Transportation and Telecommunications Committee on Tuesday.

A bill introduced by Senator Roy Baker of Lincoln would require that all occupants of a vehicle use seat belts.  Under current Nebraska law, only the driver and front seat passenger are required to use them.

:14                  “that would pass”

Nebraska has had a secondary offense seatbelt law since 1993.  You cannot be cited for not using a seatbelt, unless you’re stopped for some other violation.  Fifteen states have secondary offense seatbelt laws, while 34 states and the District of Columbia have stronger, primary offense laws. Only New Hampshire, has no occupant protection law.

Nebraska Safety Council Executive Director Laurie Klosterboer supports both Baker’s LB 711 and an occupant protection bill introduced by Senator Bob Krist, of Omaha.

:20                  “of injury”

Safety experts say an unbelted person can become, in effect, a missile who injures themselves or others, in a crash.

Coleen Nielsen with State Farm Insurance Companies says an Insurance Institute for Highway Safety study indicates that rear seat passengers often believe they are safer, simply because of their position in the vehicle.

:23                  “riding with them”

Senator Bob Krist’s LB 671 would make it a primary offense for youth permitted to drive who use handheld wireless devices.

:15                  “a motor vehicle”

Senator Baker, who represents the 30th District of Gage County and part of Lancaster County, says there are compliance differences between states that have primary seatbelt laws, and those like Nebraska…where it’s a secondary offense.

He said in states where it is a secondary law, an average of 80-to-83% of people use seatbelts.  In states with primary offense laws, it’s about 89%.

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