Number of Nebraska traffic deaths declines 5% in 2021
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — The number of people killed in crashes along Nebraska roads declined last year.
The Omaha World-Herald reports that 220 people had died in crashes on the state’s roads in 2021 as of Friday morning. The Nebraska Department of Transportation’s Highway Safety Office said that number is 5% lower than the 232 deaths reported in 2020.
A decline in motorcycle and pedestrian deaths contributed to the overall decline in traffic deaths. The state say 22 motorcycle deaths in 2021, down from 26 the previous year. The number of pedestrian deaths declined to 14 last year, compared with 19 in 2020.
“It’s definitely a positive that our (traffic) fatalities are down,” said Bill Kovarik, the administrator for the Nebraska Department of Transportation Highway Safety Office. “That’s unlike most other states this year, and we’re hoping to see that pattern continuing.”
Kovarik said he hopes to continue reducing the number of traffic deaths in the state.
“My wish for the new year is that everybody needs to wear a seat belt, not drive distracted or while you’re impaired. Other people are counting on you to come home,” Kovarik said.
Lt. John Wells with the Omaha Police Department’s traffic unit said he hopes state lawmakers will make distracted driving a primary offense this year so officers can pull people over if they see them looking down at their phones. Currently, that is a secondary offense, so officers can’t pull a vehicle over solely for that infraction.