Dear Fellow Nebraskans:
My wife and I recently attended the Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (MADD) news conference to kick off their annual "Tie One On for Safety" campaign. The purpose of this campaign is for citizens to tie a red ribbon on their car antenna as a commitment to prevent drunk driving. I appreciate the work of MADD and all of our safety partners who encourage every Nebraskan to celebrate the holiday season by staying safe and sober.
My wife serves on the National Mothers Against Drunk Driving board and we are pleased to announce that Nebraska was just awarded a five star rating for their work in adoption and following drunk driving countermeasures.
With the holidays approaching, I'd like to highlight several safety tips for those who will be traveling on Nebraska roadways. Holiday times mean increased traffic, coupled with the potential for wintry weather. All of us need to be vigilant when we get behind the wheel.
The best and most effective way to prevent an injury in a crash is wearing a seat belt. Last year, 190 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes on Nebraska roads, and 82 people were not wearing their seat belt.
Many accidents can be prevented if drivers will avoid distractions. Devoting our full attention to driving is crucial to keep our roadways safe. Grant funds provided by Nebraska Office of Highway Safety allows for law enforcement to concentrate extra hours on holidays and special enforcements.
Throughout the holiday season the Nebraska State Patrol will join with 65 local law enforcement partners in two statewide highway safety campaigns to help ensure safe roadways for travelers. The "Click It or Ticket" campaign targets seat belt and child restraint use and runs during the Thanksgiving holiday week. The "You Drink, You Drive, You Lose" campaign targets impaired driving and runs through the month of December. These special enforcement efforts are designed to save lives, by raising awareness of the need to wear seat belts and never drive impaired or distracted.
With winter just around the corner, please consider these driving tips:
* Adjust your speed and never travel faster than conditions allow.
* Slick surfaces make it difficult to steer and stop.
* Turn off the cruise control when roads are wet and snowy.
* Be sure to allow plenty of time and distance to react.
* Exercise caution on bridges and overpasses.
* Keep your headlights on and make sure they are cleaned off.
* Remember to allow plenty of time to reach your destination.
If you witness an impaired or reckless driver, dial the Nebraska State Patrol Highway Helpline at *55 from any cellular phone or 1-800-525-5555 from a landline.
Highway safety is a partnership. It is vital that drivers and passengers commit to staying safe, sober, focused and buckle every time they are in a vehicle. I encourage every Nebraskan to do whatever it takes to help ensure the safety of their families and fellow travelers we want you to arrive safely to your destinations this holiday season and all year long.