Lincoln Injury Blog

Nebraska's texting and driving law could be stricter

Like most other states, Nebraska law prohibits so-called texting and driving, a habit which, as many Lincoln residents know, is becoming more and more common in our digital age, even though it is very dangerous and can easily lead to car accidents.

Except in emergencies, drivers in Nebraska are not allowed to use their phone to type, read, or send a "written communication" while their vehicle is moving. Although the law effectively bans a driver from texting, the term "written communication" also prohibits surfing the web and sending and receiving email.

Interestingly, though, Nebraska is one of only a handful of states in which texting while driving is not a "primary" offense. What this means is that a police officer has no authority to pull over a driver and write up a ticket just because he or she suspects the driver is texting while driving. The police officer must instead first pull over the vehicle for some other reason.

What this means on a practical level is that if a driver can manage to follow the other traffic laws while texting and driving, at least when in an officer's view, then the police cannot legally stop the driver. A driving engaging in risky behavior will thus remain on the road without facing any legal consequence.

It is consoling, though, that if a driver who is texting and driving causes an accident because of his or her distracted behavior, then he or she can be held liable in a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit to pay compensation to those injured in the accident. In the course of this lawsuit, the accident victim may be able to bring up the fact the negligent driver violated Nebraska law.

Especially since it is a "secondary" offense, though, it may be hard to prove, or get the other driver to admit, that the other driver was on his or her phone at the time of an accident. Accident reconstruction and other thorough investigation may be necessary to accomplish this.

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