Nebraska bill targeting speeders hits dead end

| Wednesday, February 23, 2005

An effort in the Nebraska Legislature to create stiffer penalties for lead-footed drivers has died.

Sponsored by Sen. Tom Baker of Lincoln, the measure sought to increase speeding fines and penalty “points” assessed against a driver’s license for each violation.

Under the bill, three tickets for traveling 10 mph above the posted speed would have been enough to cost drivers their licenses.

The penalty for driving 1 to 5 mph over the speed limit would net violators a $25 fine, up from $10. Driving 6 to 10 mph over the limit would cost speeders $50, up from $25. Speeders driving 11 to 15 mph over the limit would be fined $100, up from $75. Driving in excess of 16 to 20 mph over the limit would net offenders a $150 fine, up from $125. Speeding in excess of 21 mph over the limit would still cost drivers $200.

The bill – LB156 – assesses penalty points as such: 2 points for driving 1 to 5 mph over the limit, up from 1 point; 3 points for driving 6 to 10 mph over the limit, up from 2 points; and 4 points for driving 10 mph or more over the limit, up from 3 points.

Additionally, three citations for speeding at a rate significantly above the speed limit within a two-year period would have been cause for license suspension.

“I simply think this is the way to get their attention,” Baker said of speeders.

Several members of the Transportation and Telecommunications Committee, however, felt the bill was too harsh.

A proposal to decrease fines in construction zones when no work is taking place also was killed by the panel.

Introduced by Sen. Adrian Smith of Gering, the bill aimed to draw a distinction between construction zones and zones where work is actually occurring. Currently, fines are doubled for those caught speeding in construction zones, even when the zones are empty of equipment and workers.

Under Smith’s bill – LB67 – a double fine would only be warranted if either machinery or construction workers were in the work zone.

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