Nebraska seat belt laws

Seat belt & child-restraint legislation (2017-18): State Sen. Robert Hilkemann filed a bill seeking to increase the age of passengers needing child restraint systems, from age 6 to age 8. Encourages children to be placed in rear of vehicle. Children up to age 2 in rear-facing seats. The child-protection measure is LB 42. Hilkemann also filed LB 279, requiring new school buses to have lap belts for passengers, and LB 41, which increases enforcement of child-passenger laws to primary, with fines doubled to $50.

nebraska-flagNebraska seat belt law: All front-seat occupants must wear seat belts (“occupant protection systems”). All occupants in vehicles driven by those with novice/learner’s licenses must use seat belts. Fine: $25 vs. driver of vehicle. Secondary enforcement.

Nebraska child-restraint law: All passengers up to age 6 must be transported in a child restraint system (booster seat) that meets Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 213. All passengers between the ages of 6 and 18 must wear seat belts. Primary enforcement. If a child restraint system cannot be used due to a doctor’s instructions, written proof must be carried in vehicle.

Vehicles: All motor vehicles operated in the state (1973 year model or later) must have occupant protection systems (seat belts). Exceptions include motorcycles, mopeds, buses, farm tractors.

Seat belt & child-restraint legislation (2016) State Sen. Bob Krist is back with legislation seeking to make seat belt violations subject to primary enforcement, meaning police can stop and cite violators. The seat belt bill is LB 669. “Indefinitely postponed” as of April 2016.

2014 seat belt & child-restraint legislation State Sen. John Harms’ Nebraska Roadway Safety Act of 2014 sought to make the state seat belt law subject to primary enforcement, meaning police do not need another reason to stop and cite violators. It also proposed the end of secondary enforcement of Nebraska’s texting & driving law.

2013 seat belt & child-restraint legislation
Legislative Bill 10: Would make seat belt violations subject to primary enforcement. (Krist)

LB 189: Would make seal belt violations subject to primary enforcement and increase fine to $100. 1 point vs. driver’s license. Update: Classified as carryover legislation on Jan. 8, 2014. (Harm)

News and notes
Nebraska’s rate of compliance for child-restraint laws remains high. In 2013 observational studies, 95.9% of passengers under age 6 were riding in child safety seats/booster seats. The rate was 95.9% in 2012, 95.1% in 2011 and 91.5% in 2010. Compliance for adults is estimated at almost 80 percent.

The Nebraska Office of Highway Safety says 70 percent of fatalities in state motor vehicle accidents are due to not wearing seat belts or using car seats.

State Sen. Bob Krist, who tried to strengthen Nebraska’s seat belt law in 2013, says he became interested in the issue after being forced to attend traffic school. “If (enforcement) is not primary, how serious are we about safety?” he asked.

Nebraska’s first significant seat belt law was rejected by voters, with the repeal going into effect in December 1986. The populist repeal campaign was based on the issue of individual rights. A study found that seat belt usage dropped from 40% in 1986 to 29% in 1987 with an associated increase in injuries. The law was reinstated by lawmakers in 1993. Periodic efforts have been made by lawmakers to raise enforcement to primary status.