Federal mandates for roads amended, advanced

Drivers of commercial and passenger vehicles would be banned from using phones while driving under a bill advanced from general file Feb 20.

LB983, introduced by Fullerton Sen. Annette Dubas, would update Nebraska statutes to comply with federal regulations regarding commercial drivers’ licenses, permits and identification cards issued by the state Department of Motor Vehicles.

A Transportation and Telecommunications Committee amendment, adopted 25-0, added provisions of two other bills introduced by Dubas:
• LB981 would ban commercial vehicle drivers, drivers of nine- to 15-passenger vans and school bus drivers from texting and using a hand-held telephone while driving, unless for emergency purposes; and
•LB249 would exempt farmers, their family members and employees from commercial driving regulations when driving covered farm vehicles.

Dubas said that without the statute changes, Nebraska would lose up to $13.7 million in federal highway funding the first year and $27.4 million for each subsequent year of noncompliance.

The bill was advanced to select file on a 26-0 vote.

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