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Traffic fatalities up nearly 25% so far this year in Nebraska

Speeding and lack of seatbelts are two major contributing factors
According to the Department of Transportation 116 people have been killed.
Published: Jun. 21, 2022 at 4:44 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Traffic fatalities are up nearly 25% in Nebraska so far this year. According to the Department of Transportation, 116 people have been killed.

“What we’ve seen is during the pandemic, many people were staying home but those drivers that are still on the road were doing a lot more dangerous driving behaviors, such as speeding in excess of 100 miles an hour, not wearing their seatbelts, other dangerous driving behavior. And that has kind of continued into this year,” said Nebraska Department of Transportation Highway Safety Administrator Bill Kovarik.

For the first five months of the year, pre-pandemic, the number of over-100 mph speeding citations was 257. That number jumped to nearly 400 at the start of the pandemic, according to the Nebraska Safety Patrol. This trend has persisted in 2022, with people still recklessly driving over 100 mph.

The difference now is more volume on the roads, say officials.

”So that seems to be the cause for an increase in the crashes now that the traffic has gone back to normal,” said Kovarik.

Lack of seatbelts is another factor in traffic fatalities.

In Nebraska, only 80% of drivers wear their seatbelts. That’s 10 percentage points lower than the national average.

Of the motor vehicle fatalities in May, 75% of drivers were not wearing their seatbelt, according to the safety administrator. Officials say that taking that simple precaution can reduce your chance of dying by 45%.

DOT just wrapped up a click-it-or-ticket campaign and starts a speeding one next month. Officers work overtime, using federal funding to curb reckless driving.

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