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Death toll on NE roads falls, most could have been saved in March

Posted: 7:15 PM, Apr 17, 2019
Updated: 2019-04-17 20:16:28-04
Death toll on NE roads falls, most could have been saved in March

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — The number of Nebraska drivers who were killed so far this year has dropped compared to years past, according to the Nebraska Department of Transportation.

Forty-four died in March this year. Fifty died last year while fifty-five died in 2017.

But of the seventeen who died last month, eleven were not wearing a seatbelt. Safety experts say many people who die in car crashes could have survived, but the message just isn't getting through.

"Seatbelts are proven to be a 50 percent increase in your ability to survive a crash," said Eric Koeppe, president and CEO of the National Safety Council of Nebraska.

The Council of nebraska is pushing to make it a primary offense if you're not wearing your seatbelt while driving. That means a police officer could pull you over if they just see you're not wearing one.

"We see a consistently high number of the state's fatalities are not wearing a seatbelt," Koeppe said. "Safety advocates believe that in Nebraska, if we can get primary enforcement of our seatbelt law, we really could make a difference in the number of people dying on our roads."

But it doesn't look like the Council's goal is going to work out this time around, the bill never got out of committee. Koeppe and the National Safety Council of Nebraska aren't giving up.

"We're hoping in the next year or two that we can advance bills out of the legislature and put it on the governor's desk so we can start improving the state safety record by making these things primary enforcement."

All for making Nebraska roads safer as soon as possible.

The March report from the Department of Transportation can be found here.