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Buckle Up Phone Down

As of April 15, 2024, there were 71 traffic fatalities for the year in Nebraska, a 29% increase over the same period in 2023. The causes are not surprising – speeding, drunk driving, lack of seatbelt use, and distracted driving were some of the reasons for the fatal accidents. You can take steps to increase your chance of avoiding or surviving a vehicle accident.

You’re breaking the law if you speed, drive drunk, or are not wearing a seatbelt, but people still think they can drive if they’re just a little buzzed, are only five miles over the speed limit, or are going just a short distance. They’re wrong. The first step to preventing an accident is to diligently obey the law.

It’s been proven that wearing a seat belt is one of the most effective ways to prevent injury and/or death in a crash. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that wearing a seatbelt reduces the risk of death among front-seat occupants by 45 percent. In 2020, in 77.6% of the vehicle accidents in which there was a fatality, the victim was not wearing a seatbelt. It’s the law to buckle up, and wearing a seatbelt could save your life whether you drive 200 miles or two blocks. It’s been proven that most crashes happen within 25 miles from work or home.

Distracted driving is the cause of many serious accidents as drivers who are looking at their phones are slow to react to unexpected conditions such as black ice or another vehicle pulling out, slowing down, or stopping ahead of them. According to the Nebraska Department of Transportation, from 2010 to 2021, incidences of accidents occurring because of distracted driving increased by 31.7% with 14,018 injuries and 119 fatalities as a result. Texting while driving is said to increase the risk of a crash by 23 times. Sending or reading a text takes your eyes off the road for approximately five seconds. Driving 55 miles per hour is equivalent to driving the length of a football field with your eyes closed.

Put the phone down. If you need to call or text, change your destination on GPS, look up nearby gas stations, or use your phone for any reason, pull over in a public parking area off the side of the roadway. Set up your destination and listening options before you start driving.

Obey the law. Buckle up. Put your phone down. Doing so will greatly increase the probability of arriving safely at your destination.

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