Nebraska Lawmakers listened to the many pleas to save teenagers’ lives by voting to override the Governor’s veto of a bill that would set new restrictions on teenage drivers.
Votes were 33-7 to reinstate Legislative Bill 415. 30 votes are needed for a bill to become law over a governor’s veto. The bill sets the limits on passengers and cell phone use by teenagers that are yet to have full driving allowances. January 1st the measure will go into effect.
The Governor vetoed the bill on Wednesday, saying the state government should not have to substitute for parental responsibility.
State Sen. John Harms of Scottsbluff, sponsor of LB 415, said he was inundated with calls from parents urging an override.
“We have a responsibility here to protect the very future and that’s our teenagers,” Harms said. “It’s all about safety. It’s about teenagers’ lives.”
Lincoln Senator Avery said, the bill would support parents in setting limits but not substitute them. While other lawmakers say parents and government have a responsibility to guide teens while they are still learning.
Under LB 415, a teen driver holding a provisional operator’s license will be limited to one passenger under age 19, except for family members.
Teens with provisional, learner’s and school permits will be prohibited from talking on cell phones, sending text messages or using other interactive electronic devices while driving.
Under the bill, the cell phone and passenger provisions will be secondary offenses, meaning that police officers could not stop young drivers unless they had committed some other traffic violation.
According to the Nebraska Highway Safety Office, teen drivers were involved in 181 fatal car crash from 2002-2005. In these crashes 168 teens were killed along with 40 other people.