Understanding Nevada traffic laws makes you a safer driver. Unfortunately, not all drivers on our roads know the basic rules of the roads. Whether you live in the state or are visiting Las Vegas, Reno or other parts of the area, knowing Nevada state driving laws keeps you safer and can help you avoid an expensive ticket.
If you need to brush up, here are Nevada and Las Vegas driving laws everyone in the state must know:
1) Are Cell Phones Legal While Driving in Nevada?
Hand-held cell phones and devices are not allowed in the state. You cannot use hand-held devices to text, talk, surf the Internet or for other reasons. You can use hands-free devices, however, and you can use your hands to activate apps on your hands-free device to start calls. You can also use your hands to turn the devices on and off. Exceptions to the hand-held device ban can be made in the event of serious emergencies — such as calling to report a crime or calling 911 for a medical emergency.
If you violate texting and hand-held device bans in Nevada, you face a $50 fine for your first offense and $100 for the next. All subsequent fines are $250, though these fines are doubled in work areas.
2) Bicycle Traffic Laws in Nevada
If you are driving and passing a bicycle, move to a neighboring lane on the left if possible. If this is not possible, maintain at least three feet of distance. If you are a cyclist, you must obey all traffic signs and rules of the road.
3) DUI Laws
The DUI legal limit in Nevada is .08 percent blood alcohol level or any amount of a controlled substance for adult, non-commercial motorists. For drivers under the age of 21, the DUI legal limit is .02. In Nevada, drivers cannot refuse breath, blood or urine tests used for drunk driving. If a police officer asks for these tests, drivers must comply.
Fines for DUIs in Nevada are high. A first conviction can result in fines between $400 and $1,000, as well as jail time of two days to six months, or community service. A first conviction will result in a license revocation for 90 days, as well as possible mandatory substance abuse treatment and attendance at DUI school.
A driver convicted of a second DUI within seven years will face fines of $750 to $1,000, as well as license revocation for one year, house arrest and jail sentence, as well as other restrictions.
A driver who is convicted subsequent times within seven years may need to pay fines of $2,000 to $5,000 and may face prison sentences of one to six years. In addition, a driver with more than two DUI convictions in a seven-year span will see their license revoked for three years and may have their registration suspended.
Even for a first offense, a DUI resulting in a fatality or serious injury can result in fines of $2,000 to $5,000.
In addition, Nevada makes it a violation to have an open liquor container in the vehicle. This offense carries a fine imposed by a court.
4) Teen Driving Laws in Nevada
For the first six months after getting a driver’s license, drivers under the age of 18 are not allowed to have any passengers younger than 18 years of age. In addition, drivers under the age of 18 are not allowed to drive between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m., unless they are headed to a school or work activity.
5) Move Over and Car Accident Laws
If you are in a minor accident where no one was hurt, you must move somewhere where your cars won’t block traffic. You’re only expected to move over if no one was injured and it’s safe for you to move.
If you are approaching an emergency vehicle which is stopped and has its lights flashing, you need to slow down to a speed below the speed limit and be ready to stop. If you can, the law requires you to move to a different lane so you are further away from any emergency vehicles. If an officer is directing traffic around the scene, follow the officer’s directions.
If your car collision involves damages of $750 or more, you must report your accident to the DMV. You have 10 days to file the paperwork with the DMV if no police officer investigated the collision.
Children under the age of seven and under 60 pounds are required by Nevada law to be placed in a certified child restraint system. Children under the age of eight are not allowed to be left alone in a car if there is a health or safety risk to the child.
The only exception to this is if someone who is at least 12 years old is watching or supervising the child. Children must not be transported in the back of a pickup or flatbed truck unless transportation is for a farming, ranching or parade activity or the child is in a camper shell or slide-in camper.
7) Seat Belts
Every passenger in the front and rear seat is required to be wearing a seat belt. Child passengers who are under 60 pounds and seven years of age must be in an appropriate child safety restraint.
Cats and dogs may not be left unattended in a vehicle in hot or cold weather. If pets are left in the car, authorities can use force to remove the animals from the dangerous situation.
9) Licensing and Registration
In Nevada, cars need to be registered and drivers licensed in order to drive. Lack of proper license plates, registration or driver licensing can result in considerable fees. Not having a registration in the car can carry fines of $205 for a first offense, for example. If license plates are not displayed correctly, a first offense results in a fine of a $205.
Using expired or fake license plates can also lead to fines. Altered or counterfeit plates or registration, for example, can mean a $365 fine or a $425 fine for a second offense. Driving with no proof of insurance can mean a fine of $747 for a first offense.
In addition, drivers in Nevada have a limited amount of time to update their license and registration if it changes. For example, drivers must report a license change on their registration within 10 days. Failure to do so can mean a $205 fine. New Nevada residents must get Nevada license plates within 60 days of moving to the state. If you do not, you could face a $205 fine or a $230 fine for a second offense. You pay the same level of fines if you do not get a Nevada driver’s license within the first 30 days of moving to the state. If you have changed your name, you must change the name on your license within 30 days.
Even if you have a license, registration and insurance, in Nevada you can face fines and penalties if you allow someone who is not permitted to drive in Nevada to operate a motor vehicle. For example, if you allow an unlicensed person to drive, you could face penalties of $365 for a first offense and fines of $655 for a second offense.
10) Speeding Laws
In Nevada, you must obey posted speed limits. Failure to do so can carry fines of $205 for a first offense.
However, Nevada also has a Basic Rule for speed. This means drivers are responsible for driving at reasonable speeds based on road conditions, weather, traffic and other variables. Even if you are driving the posted speed limit, you may be charged in Nevada if you do not adjust your speed to account for traffic, bad weather or other factors.
11) Reckless and Aggressive Driving
Aggressive and reckless driving can involve many actions which put others at risk. For example, Nevada drivers are expected to move to a lane to the left when passing a bicycle. If this is not possible, drivers must leave at least three feet of room between their own vehicle and the bicycle. If motorists fail to follow this law and cause a bicycle accident, they can be charged with reckless driving. If a driver is found to have driven aggressively or recklessly, the courts can impose a fine and can suspend a driver’s license.
Drivers may also be charged with aggressive driving in road rage incidents or with reckless driving if they are operating their motor vehicle in an unsafe manner. For example, drivers who hang partway out of their window can be charged with reckless driving, as can drivers who engage in stunts on the roads.
12) Distracted Driving
Nevada has rules about texting or cell phone use while behind the wheel, but these are not the only distractions on the road. Any motorist who causes a crash because they are talking to passengers, trying to corral pets who are loose in the car or otherwise showing signs of distraction can be charged with distracted driving. Distracted drivers can be fined by the courts for an amount the court finds reasonable.
13) U-Turn Laws
Nevada permits U-turns in many places. However, they are prohibited in areas where a sign or signal indicates they aren’t allowed and in areas where you have less than 500 feet visible in either direction. In business areas, U-turns are not allowed unless you are on a divided highway or intersection where there is enough room for a U-turn. Fines of $230 are imposed (for a first offense) in situations where a driver fails to obey a no-U-turn sign.
14) Right Turn Laws
Nevada permits right turns on a red light. However, motorists must come to a complete stop unless there are signs to the contrary. To complete the turn, drivers must be in the farthest right lane and must yield to all pedestrians and traffic.
15) Driverless Car Laws
Nevada was one of the first states in the country to permit autonomous cars. These cars use artificial intelligence and sensors to operate, and they create some unique challenges legally. In Nevada, motorists must have a driver’s license endorsement to operate this kind of vehicle, and must have a certificate of compliance for the vehicle, as well as meeting other requirements. The certificate of compliance will outline how the vehicle can and cannot be operated. For legal purposes, the operator of the vehicle is considered the driver, with all the duties of such, even if he or she is not actively driving the car. Drivers must also meet additional requirements, including getting special plates for their autonomous vehicle.
16) School Bus Laws
If you are driving behind a school bus in Nevada and the vehicle stops to let children get on or off the bus, you must stop when the bus starts to flash its red lights. If you are on a divided highway with a physical barrier, you will not have to stop if you are moving in the opposite direction from the bus. Otherwise, you will have to stop, no matter which way the bus is driving.
17) Driver Training Laws
If you live in Nevada and wish to obtain a license, you must meet driver training laws. Nevada law requires that anyone under the age of 18 who applies for an instruction permit provide a DMV-301 form, signed by a school official, proving that the minor attends school. If you are under the age of 18 but have completed your schooling, you must submit either a high school diploma or its equivalent.
Driver instruction is required in the state. You can meet this requirement by either:
- Taking classes at a DMV-approved school or DMV-approved online school
- Completing 100 hours of behind-the-wheel driving, including proving your ability to drive in the dark. This is only an option if the other two solutions are not possible because of your place of residence.
If you live within 30 miles of a DMV-approved school and are a teenager, you must complete at least 50 hours of driving experience with a qualified supervisory driver. This is in addition to meeting other training requirements.
18) Traffic Signs and Signals
Nevada motorists must obey all posted traffic signs and signals, whether they are residents or visiting. In cases of construction sites or accidents, temporary signs may be posted, or police officers may be directing traffic. If this is the case, obey the temporary signs or police, even if they are giving directions contradicting the posted signs. Disobeying traffic signs carries penalties, which become higher in work zone areas.
In some cases, traffic lights may not be working. When this occurs, drivers approaching the lights must come to a full stop and must treat the light as a flashing light. That is, they must yield to drivers already in the intersection, as well as pedestrians. After yielding, drivers may proceed through the light with caution.
19) Railway Crossings
Railway crossings in Nevada may be marked with lights, signs or signals. If you approach a train track and a bar is lowered, you may not proceed, even if you do not see a sign. If you approach tracks and see no bar or lights, proceed only if you determine no train is crossing. In situations where a signal light is flashing, you may proceed if no train is approaching.
Nevada indicates who has right of way, but these rules are often guides. The state does not grant road users right of way via the law. However, in some cases drivers must yield to certain users of the road. For example, if a visually impaired pedestrian approaches an intersection with a cane, guide dog or stick on any road or highway in Nevada, all drivers must yield and must take all precaution to avoid causing injury.
All drivers in Nevada must have auto insurance secured through a company approved to do business in the state, and must meet specific minimum requirements. As of 2017, for example, insured drivers were required to carry at least $15,000 of coverage for fatalities or physical injury for each passenger of each crash, and $10,000 for property destruction in any one crash.
22) Drugged Driving Laws
Nevada has a zero-tolerance policy for drugged driving. If a motorist is above a certain state level for a controlled substance, they can be charged, even if they are permitted to use the drug or if they were not driving recklessly. The amount of drugs needed for a charge varies depending on the drug and the test administered. A driver with 150 nanograms of cocaine in a urine analysis or 50 nanograms in a blood test is in violation of the law. Similarly, a motorist who is shown to have 10 nanograms of marijuana through a urine sample or two nanograms in a blood sample is breaking the law and may be charged.
23) Red Lights
Nevada requires cars to stop at a red light. Failure to do so can result in $1,000 in fines, as well as four demerit points. However, there is no regulation about driving through a yellow light. If you drive into an intersection when the light is yellow, you have not broken the law.
Nevada does not permit red-light cameras. To be fined for running a red light, you must be charged by a police officer or authority with the ability to charge you. You will not get a ticket from a red-light camera company when driving in Nevada.
The High Cost of Breaking Traffic Laws in Nevada
Nevada state driving laws apply throughout the state, from Las Vegas to Reno to remote communities. Violations of driving laws can lead to accidents, and even in cases where you do not cause injury, they can be costly. Become familiar with Nevada traffic violation codes and regulations if you will be driving in the state. Breaking the rules can result in fines, penalties and even jail time.
If you are a resident of Nevada, breaking traffic rules in the state can cost you points on the demerit system. Depending on the traffic violation, you gain up to eight points if you are convicted of a traffic violation. For example, reckless driving earns you eight points, and speeding can earn between one and five demerit points. You can remove three of these, in some cases, by attending traffic school. Accumulating points can count against you if you are charged with additional offenses, and can also affect insurance rates.
In addition to the cost of demerit points and fines, violating the law can cost you in other ways. Being stopped for a traffic violation can be time-consuming. If you decide to challenge the charge, court fees and legal costs can add to the expense of the violation. If your car is impounded or your license is suspended, you will need to pay additional fees to get your license or car back.
Nevada driving laws exist to keep everyone safe. If you have been injured by a driver who disobeyed these or other Nevada driving rules, contact Dallas Horton & Associates for legal advice. Our attorneys may be able to represent you and offer you caring and professional legal support. We aggressively fight for your rights and send a strong message to the unsafe drivers on our roads.