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Nebraska Highway Deaths seen as a Disturbing Trend

Nebraska’s highways and roadways have witnessed a 9 percent rise in deaths from traffic related accidents as compared to last year. The alarming trend is a cause of great concern for the Nebraska State Patrol especially with the holiday season around the corner. Up until Nov. 25th the state recorded 201 traffic accident-related deaths, which is very close to last year’s total of 211 fatalities.

According to accident attorneys in Omaha, Nebraska, these figures ought to be an eye opener for drivers since a significantly large number of people will be on the roads during the holidays. Busy highways and wintry roads are a potential recipe for disaster although the Nebraska State Patrol believes that safety measures can help prevent a majority of accidents.

Traffic deaths on the rise

According to the state patrol, 119 traffic related deaths out of 201 were due to people not using seat belts. According to the Centers for Disease Control, seat belts have the potential to reduce fatalities by as much as 50 percent. Several experts including accident attorneys in Omaha, Nebraska believe that a proactive approach by the state authorities can help reduce injuries and fatalities. This can be achieved through education programs and public service announcements. Despite several campaigns about the dangers of using smartphones and texting while driving, this is still a major concern.

Drunk driving a major concern

Drunk driving has always been a major concern although Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and Governor Dave Heineman continue to urge people to refrain from driving under the influence during the holiday season. The governor recently flagged off the Tie One On For Safety holiday red ribbon campaign that encourages people to find a designated driver if they know they will be consuming alcohol. Traffic fatalities in Nebraska have been on the rise ever since the state recorded its lowest number of traffic related deaths in 2011, which stood at 181, the least in over six decades.

The Nebraska Legislature has over the years encouraged the use of ignition interlock devices where drivers exhale into a device that measures alcohol levels before their vehicle starts. Judges have ordered the use of interlocks for many people with DUI convictions.

Nebraska man sentenced for crash that killed Aurora teacher

In drunk driving related news, 38 year old Otis Newcomb was sentenced to 5-10 years in prison for causing a crash that killed an Aurora school teacher in November last year. Newcomb pleaded no contest to manslaughter. According to a York County sheriff’s deputy, the accident took place on US 34 just 2 miles west of York around 1 am Newcomb, who was driving under the influence, collided with the pickup truck in which 31-year-old Lauren Akerson, a second grade school teacher was a passenger.

According to police reports, Newcomb’s BAC level was way above the legal limit at .133 percent. His request for a delay in sentencing was turned down by York County District Judge James Stecker, who ordered his prison sentence. He is likely to be eligible for parole in less than three years.