Seatbelt Usage in Nebraska
Nebraska enacted the state’s first seatbelt law on January 1st, 1993. It is not a primary enforcement state. What this means for the average driver is that a police officer can only give someone a ticket for not wearing a seatbelt if they stop them for another reason. They cannot stop someone solely for not wearing a seatbelt.
The Nebraska seatbelt law is applicable to all people 18 years and older who are seated in the front seat. Anyone who disobeys the law may be subject to a fine of $25 for a first offense. The state also has a child safety law requiring anyone five years old and younger to be kept in a restraint seat. Once they reach age six, they may use the regular seatbelt. There is no requirement for the rear seat.
In 2012, Nebraska had a seatbelt usage rate of 79 percent, which compares to the national average of 86 percent. The state has fluctuated some in its rate but has not shown any sustained significant improvement. In 2007, the rate was 78.7 percent, and in 2014, it was at 79.0 percent, showing almost no growth. However, in the years between the rates fared somewhat better. The high point came in 2009 with a rate of 84.8 percent.
Nebraska has a traffic fatality rate of 13.0, slightly above the national rate of 10.9. This information comes from the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS). If the seatbelt usage rate was higher, It could be expected that the death rate would be lower. Studies have shown the correlation between the two. When a person does not wear a seatbelt, they are more likely to be ejected from their seat, resulting in more serious injuries and even death. Many of these injuries could be prevented by a person taking the time to buckle up.