Gordon Brooks
Director, Nebraska Safety Center,, 308.865.8562

UNK-  Thirty years of making life safer for Nebraskans will be celebrated Tuesday, Oct. 7, at the University of Nebraska at Kearney. 
The Nebraska Safety Center, established in 1978 by the Nebraska Legislature, will hold a public open house from 2:30-4:30 p.m. at the Nebraska Safety Center Driving Range, located south of the campus on Railroad Street.

The Kearney Area Chamber of Commerce is helping host the event. Among the highlights of the open house will be a series of demonstrations illustrating fire safety, as well as agricultural transportation and traffic safety.  

Since it was established in 1978 to provide safety education; lead safety education; research, partner, collaborate or otherwise promote safety education efforts; and articulate teacher safety education for Nebraska, the center has grown from a one-person operation to employing eight full-time and more than 55 part-time instructors. The center currently provides beginning driver education, advanced driving techniques, minor traffic diversion training (STOP), pupil transportation (school bus) driver education for all Nebraska school bus drivers and motorcycle training. In addition, the center offers driver education teacher endorsement.   

According to Gordon Brooks, Nebraska Safety Center director, an estimated 10,000 thousand Nebraskans across the state participate in some form of safety training through the Nebraska Safety Center each year.

The 12-acre Ron and Carol Cope Nebraska Center for Safety Education and Research (driving range), completed in 1981, is central to driver safety training. Beginning drivers learn to drive through classroom instruction, driving simulation, range and on-street driving. The driving range not only serves the beginning drivers, but also those drivers needing training in advanced driving techniques and motorcycle training.

In 1987, in response to federally mandated mine safety and health training, the center began offering mine safety and health training. More than 1,500 new miners and seasoned miners participate in new miner or annual refresher miner training annually. The center also provides a hearing conservation program for miners. 

Three- and-a-half years ago, as the result of receiving an agricultural transportation grant, the center took a new direction in developing and implementing an agricultural transportation safety outreach and research program. The center developed an agricultural transportation outreach laboratory, which has delivered truck, ATV, farm and livestock safety training to more than 7,000 Nebraskans since last December.