Push For Stricter Laws For Distracted Driving

Franque Thompson

LINCOLN (KPTM)- 75 percent of teens said texting while driving is a common practice. In 2012, 75 percent of drivers did not wear a seatbelt at one point while driving a car. The Nebraska Safety Council said these numbers continue to increase at an alarming rate and it's teenagers that are in the most danger. Currently Nebraska is one of four states that lists texting while driving and not wearing a seatbelt as a secondary offense.

A mangled car was all that was left after a crash killed 16-year-old Cady Reynolds. The teen was hit by a distracted driver back in 2007. Though police said there was no proof the driver was using a cell phone, the teen's dad, Rob Reynolds makes countless efforts to help pass laws against texting and driving.

"Whenever you're doing something like that, you're putting everybody in front of your windshield in danger," said Reynolds.

Some lawmakers are hoping to make texting while driving a primary traffic offense--meaning you could get pulled over and get a ticket. The same would go for not wearing a seatbelt.

"Some people feel like it's getting down into their personal rights, but what most people don't understand is that with the seatbelts they're actually breaking the law. The law has already been established for you to click it on," said state senator John Harms.

Both texting and not wearing a seat belt while driving are secondary offenses. That means you can't get a ticket unless you were stopped for a different traffic violation. If the state votes to upgrade both to primary offenses--stricter consequences and heavier fines will follow.

"$200 the first offense, $300 the next and $500 the next. So it progresses pretty heavy and each one of those you lose three points. So it wouldn't take you very long to put yourself in a difficulty, plus you're paying a lot through your pocket," said Harms.

The efforts against texting while driving and not wearing a seatbelt are part of the Nebraska Roadway Safety Act. The entire proposal would also ban the use of cell phones by school bus drivers. Changes could also come to the number of passengers allowed in a car with provisions of the Graduated Driver's License Law.