Nebraska legislators are considering a bill that would make violation of the seatbelt law a primary, rather than a secondary, offense. Moreover, the bill would prohibit drivers from texting with a handheld device when their vehicle is in motion.
The bill exempts law enforcement officers, firefighters, ambulance drivers and other emergency workers from the texting ban, as long as they’re conducting such wireless communications in the course of their official duties.
The bill’s texting ban covers use of a “handheld wireless communication device to read a written communication, manually type a written communication, or send a written communication while operating a motor vehicle which is in motion.”
Violators of the texting ban would be fined and assessed points on their license. A first offense would result in a $200 fine. A second offense would carry a $300 fine. Subsequent offenses would result in a $500 fine.
The bill’s proposed change to the seatbelt law would make the requirement subject to primary enforcement, rather than secondary enforcement. As such, a police officer would be able to stop and ticket a driver for a seatbelt violation alone, even if no other traffic violation was observed. Currently, law enforcement officers can issue a citation for a seatbelt violation only if the driver is seen committing another “primary” offense.
These proposed changes to the state’s vehicle code have drawn the support of AAA, the Nebraska Safety Council and the National Safety Council’s Nebraska office, KIOS News reported. To download the bill, click here.