There are two legislative bills currently in the Nebraska Legislature of interest to active and public transportation advocates. Please contact your state senator and the appropriate committee members designated below to express your support.
LB339 – Merge the Department of Aeronautics into the Department of Roads and rename as the Department of Transportation
Introduced by Senator Friesen at the request of the Governor.
Nebraska is currently the only state in the nation with a Department of Roads, rather than a Department of Transportation. Merging the Division of Aeronautics and the Department of Roads into a Department of Transportation would be a step in the right direction for enabling our state and local engineers to better meet the needs of all road users—people who drive cars, walk or bike. It might also open up more opportunities for funding and programs that will enable our state to better compete for businesses, and recruit young professionals and others attracted to places with great transportation infrastructure for all users.
The hearing for the bill took place on January 30.
LB471 – Provide for enforcement of the prohibition against using a handheld wireless communication device as a primary action
Introduced by Senator Kolowski.
This bill would change texting while driving from a secondary to a primary offense.
We know that texting while driving is a problem across the country and found in preliminary research conducted as part of our Safe Crossings campaign observing traffic at several intersections across the Omaha area that distracted driving pervasive. We witnessed many people driving through intersections while texting and doing other tasks. This presents a great risk to drivers, people walking, and people bicycling.
Currently, 46 states, ban text messaging for all drivers and all but 5 have primary enforcement. Nebraska needs to join other states in sending a strong message that unsafe driving is unacceptable.
A coalition of other organizations concerned with traffic safety supports the bill, including the National Safety Council-Nebraska, the Nebraska Safety Council, the Nebraska Bicycling Alliance, and the AAA.