Crash fatalities for Nebraska stood at 211 in 2013, the last reporting year statistics are available. Although this number is higher per capita compared to the national average, it is on par with the national average per number of road miles traveled. As a largely rural state with vast treeless prairies this can be expected. Being average is ok, but drive safely nonetheless.
As a secondary enforcement state for seat belt use, it may come as no surprise that 62% of fatalities were from unrestrained persons in a vehicle, one of the highest percentages of all states. This is due most likely to only about 79% of people in cars observe the safety belt law much lower than most other states and among the bottom 5 of all states for seat belt observance. The fact that seat belt restraint is significantly linked to fatalities in vehicles make this issue critical for car safety in Nebraska.
The fact that over 80% of all fatal crashes in the state happen in a rural setting is well beyond the national average of just over 50%. Partly because of the rural nature of the state, and maybe because there is less enforcement in these areas that seat belt use may be lower in rural areas, accounting for a larger share of car crash fatalities.
DUI involved fatalities for drivers of vehicles in the state is a welcome change from the dismal statistics involving seat belts. This may be due in large part because of the harsh penalties for DUI in the state, even compared to other states. Fatalities of drivers over the national 0.8% account for 32% of BAC known fatalities 1% lower than the national average.
At the end of the day, wearing a seat belt is of utmost importance to avoid a fatal crash in this wide open state, especially in rural areas.
Nebraska is known as a Great Plains state but in fact it is comprised of two different plains dissections. The far eastern portion of the state is part of the Dissected Till Plains that were created from glaciers receding and leaving a rolling hills plain, whereas the majority of the state is part of the Great Plains. Known extensively for cattle ranching and agrarian crops it is squarely in the ‘break basket’ of the US. Its highest elevation in the state is a simple slow rise to the Colorado border called Panorama Point at 5424 feet above sea level.
Ranked 6th worst for most deficient bridges in the US, Nebraska rural roads are a story like many other states with a high percentage of rural roads. There is simply not enough in the coffers of these rural counties to fix all that is needed to fix or repair. With most bridges in Nebraska being built in the 1920’s, many are in need of repair. Yet with thousands that need replacement, there is simply not enough in rural budgets. It is these conditions that can also make rural driving so dangerous. Drive carefully, safely and slow down on these ill-repaired roads.
The weather in the state is fairly consistent with hot summers and cold winters. With a humid continental climate in the eastern portion of the state and a semi-arid climate in the western portion without major mountains, valleys or large bodies of water, the only moderating effect on temperature in the state is the occasional Chinook that affects only the western half of the state in the winter. Being part of Tornado Alley, Nebraska also experiences a number of violent storms and tornados in a given year.
Modified Comparative at Fault
An at fault state with a modified comparative fault rule set at 50%, the state’s aggressive anti-drunk driving laws, its very low uninsured driver rate and its lack of a major urban congestion zone help make it one of the cheaper states for car insurance. The state also imposes a financial responsibility rule on drivers that is higher than the national average; this ensures drivers that are involved in accidents have sufficient insurance to cover the costs of an accident.
Drivers do have multiple options of recourse when involved in an accident because of the states at fault system to recover personal injury or property expenses. These include claims against their own or the other driver’s insurance companies, private settlements, and even civil court lawsuits.
Mandatory Minimums for DUI
Most states that have harsh penalties for DUI do not always have mandatory minimums on their penalties. This often allows effective lawyers to downgrade sentencing and therefore lessening the penalties in these cases. With absolute mandatory minimums, drivers face an unequivocal penalty system that is unforgiving.
Nebraska penalties for 3rd and more offenses are especially harsh considering the minimum jail time for a 3rd offense is 90 days in jail. The system also has an unprecedented 15 year lookback period one of the longest in the states. A national minimum is 5 years, and 3 states have lifetime lookback periods, but 15 years is still a long time compared to most states. The DUI system in Nebraska also penalizes drivers harsher if their BAC is over 0.15%, if anyone was injured or killed as a result of their drunk driving and if they were carrying a minor as a passenger.
It is simply better to avoid drinking and driving. If you happen to be charged with a DUI offense in Nebraska hire a lawyer to deal with your case as soon as possible.
Traffic Violation Demerits
Points in Nebraska’s system range from 1 to 12 points for vehicle homicide, where 12 points in a two year period can result in a license revocation. The state also tracks violations that happen outside the state towards your driving record.
Did You Know That…
1. The Lewis and Clarke explorations through Nebraska helped spark major emigration to the state.
2. Nebraska has more miles of rivers than any other US state.
3. If you are assigned 50% or more blame you can recover $0 in damages.
4. It is the only state with only 1 chamber or house (unicameral) for representation.
5. It only has a secondary seat belt law, meaning officers cannot pull you over for not wearing a seat belt.
6. Nebraska has the largest underground water aquifer and supply of any state.
7. A 5th DUI offense can net 20 years in jail, a $25,000 fine, a 15 year license suspension and a felony conviction.
8. All drivers are prohibited from texting while driving but only under 18 year old drivers are prohibited from using cell phones.
9. Omaha is the largest city at 400,000 people but the Capital is Lincoln.
10. The state motto is: Equality before Law.