Summer Travel Begins

By: Katie Stukey, The Associated Press Email
By: Katie Stukey, The Associated Press Email

This weekend marks the start of the busiest travel time of the year and that means extra enforcement from city streets to rural highways.

The number of roadway fatalities in Nebraska has barely changed this year compared to the same period in 2013 and state officials say most of those killed weren't wearing seat belts.

State officials said Thursday that 74 people have died in crashes so far in 2014 compared with 73 during the same period a year ago. Of the 67 people who were killed while inside a passenger vehicle, 49 were not wearing seat belts. The numbers were released in advance of the holiday weekend when roads nationwide are busier than usual.

Gov. Dave Heineman and other state officials issued a call for motorists to wear their seat belts. Nebraska kicked off its annual "Click it or Ticket" campaign this week, which runs through June 1st. They're also starting the 100 Days of Summer initiative with a special focus on novice drivers.

"Summertime is a very, very difficult time for youthful drivers," says Nebraska State Patrol Lt. Kevin Bridges. "It's one of the highest fatality rate periods in the calendar year, so we look at calendars and events to see what might be attracting a large number of youthful drivers and focus some of our activities in those areas."

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