Highway traffic safety is getting a lot of attention from the State legislature, where lawmakers are hearing fresh calls to crack down on texting and driving.

A bill debated in Lincoln Tuesday would let police stop motorists who are spotted texting or not wearing a seat belt. Current law treats the violations as a secondary offense, meaning officers can only ticket drivers after stopping them for some other reason. Sen. John Harms of Scottsbluff says the legislation would save lives, even if it proves politically unpopular.

The proposal was backed by law enforcement and roadway-safety groups during a hearing of the Legislature's Transportation and Telecommunications Committee. Nebraska is one of 17 states without a primary safety belt law.

A similar bill introduced last year didn't make it to the full Legislature.