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Push to toughen distracted driving laws

New effort to make it a primary offense
Posted: 7:37 PM, Nov 27, 2018
Updated: 2018-11-28 04:33:22Z
Push to Toughen Distracted Driving Laws

OMAHA, NEB. (KMTV) — For Rob Reynolds, the pain never goes away even with the passing of time. A distracted driver hit and killed his 16-year-old daughter at 132nd and Center in Omaha, in May 2007.

She was the oldest of five children, an outstanding student at Marian High School, with a very bright future.

"The Dad side of me regrets not having Cady with me to share those things," Reynolds said. "I didn't get to see her graduate. I didn't get to hold her grandkids. There are still things like that, that really hit hard."

Reynolds has become one of Omaha's leading advocates for safer driving. He says the problem of distracted driving has become worse in recent years.

Distracted driving five years ago: What has changed?

So the West Omaha father will try again in 2019 to convince the state legislature to make texting/distracted driving a primary offense. Right now, police have to pull you over for a more serious violation first. This year they are trying a new approach.

Eric Koeppe, President and CEO of the National Safety Council Nebraska said, "I think it's a very positive thing if corporations can get involved in this and help us get this very necessary safety legislation improved."

He commended companies such as Werner Trucking and OPPD for implementing policies that ban texting and talking on the phone when their workers are on the job. He's hoping they will lend some muscle to the cause at the Unicameral.

"We would like to see the corporate citizens join us in that effort to help lobby the legislature to put in primary enforcement," Koeppe said.

For Reynolds, it's worth the fight.

More than 11 years later, 'it always hits me'

"You don't want to be in my shoes," he said. "You don't ever want to visit a gravesite in the middle of the winter or their birthday and know that's somebody you love."

The new legislative session begins in Lincoln in January.

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