In our last blog, we discussed the dangers of distracted driving and its alarming related figures in the United States. You know that distracted driving can have detrimental consequences, but did you know that they can extend to your driving record and pocketbook?

In July 2010, distracted driving laws in Nebraska went into effect. While it is still legal for adults to use cell phones to make calls while driving, any and all cell phone usage while driving is prohibited by novice drivers (drivers under the age of 18 with a learner’s permit or provisional license). However, it is illegal for all Nebraska drivers to text and drive, which means it’s illegal for drivers to compose, read, or send text messages behind the wheel. This texting and driving ban is a secondary law, meaning a driver can only be ticketed for the offense if an officer witnesses some other violation, or if a driver is involved in an accident and it is discovered that they were texting.

In Nebraska, penalties for texting and driving include a minimum $200 fine and up to $500 for repeat offenses. Additionally, each texting and driving violation constitutes 3 points against the driver’s license.

Distracted driving, especially texting and driving, is very obviously unsafe, as well as potentially expensive. That being said, it’s easy to engage in these behaviors, even when you don’t necessarily mean to. To reduce the urge to participate in distracted driving or just avoid it all together, you can:

  • Adjust mirrors, heat, or A/C before traveling
  • Program your radio’s preset stations or choose a playlist on your mobile music device before driving
  • Turn off your cell phone completely and place it out of reach
  • Designate a passenger to use mobile navigation (if alone, become familiar with directions ahead of time)
  • If you need to eat, pull over and do so while stationary
  • Teach children/train pets to exhibit good behavior in the car
  • Limit the number of passengers/activity in your vehicle
  • Keep music at a minimal volume

It’s impossible to stay 100 percent focused on the road 100 percent of the time, but there are simple things you can do to prevent yourself from getting distracted too heavily or too often while driving. Distracted driving kills thousands of people every year, so pay attention, stay off your phone, and drive safe!