Driver’s manual going online
Not long after the 2018 edition of the Nebraska Driver’s Manual came off the press, it was rendered obsolete.
In April, state lawmakers approved a plan to increase the speed limit on Nebraska’s two-lane, paved highways by 5 miles per hour; the changes went into effect in July.
The manuals included the old speed limits — 65 mph on most highways rather than the 70 mph drivers can cruise now — which created confusion for aspiring drivers studying for the licensing exam.
“We fielded a lot of calls from people wanting to know if the correct answer on the test was the way it was written in the book or what the law actually was,” said Rhonda Lahm, director of the Nebraska Department of Motor Vehicles.
“That’s not a good way to do business.”
The DMV decided to discontinue printing the 88-page manual, and will instead maintain an updated version complete with an explanation of the state’s traffic laws, rules of the road and practice exams on the agency’s website at dmv.nebraska.gov/manuals.
Lahm said several considerations went into the decision to cease publishing the manuals on a large scale earlier this summer.
Teenagers working for their driver’s licenses are the biggest users of the Nebraska Driver’s Manual, she said. They are generally internet-savvy and accustomed to using mobile apps or other electronic media to learn.
The department hopes by directing drivers online, they will be able to find the most up-to-date information, which will be reflected on the driver’s exam as well. The process is expected to be done by the end of September.
In addition to better serving Nebraskans through the online manual, Lahm said the DMV will save about $50,000 annually by not printing the books, while also following other states that have discontinued the practice as part of a nationwide effort to eliminate waste and “go green.”
There are no immediate plans on how to use the savings, but Lahm speculated the cash fund generated through fees collected from drivers could be used for a future DMV modernization project.
While the Nebraska DMV is directing users online, the state will continue printing a small number of physical manuals each year.
Drivers who need to be retested, either as the result of a crash, a suspension or for other reasons, will be mailed a manual to ensure they have access to the information needed to safely get them back on the road, Lahm said.