If there is one law that on everyone’s mind, lately, it is Senate Bill 140, more commonly referred to as the “cell phone law.” I just wanted to clear up a little bit of misunderstanding and explain the law that will be impacting every driver in the state of Nevada.
The state of Nevada has gone back-and-forth on the issue of cell phones and driving for quite some time, but on June 17th, Governor Brian Sandoval signed a bill requiring all Nevada motorists to operate a hands-free device when using their mobile phone. Nevada now joins 9 other states that have enacted similar laws.
This law came to fruition, in large part, because of some startling statistics on moving violations and texing. According to representatives at the Nevada Highway Patrol, there are more than 3,500 distraction-related crashes in Nevada every year, and more than 60 deaths in the past five years. While not all of these are attributed solely to mobile phone use while driving, it’s clear that being distracted by anything (your phone, your kids, your lunch) while driving impairs your judgement and response times. “Not only is it prohibited, but we want drivers to know that they are four times more likely to crash when driving while talking on a cellphone,” Nevada Department of Public Safety Director Chris Perry explained. “Driving while talking or texting can delay reaction time as much as driving legally drunk.”
The new law rolls out slowly. Starting a couple weeks ago, police officers and highway troopers can pull over drivers to warn them about the new legislation. However, no tickets or fines will be issued until January 1 of next year. But once the first of the year hits, there are some fines and penalties for drivers caught using their phone and driving: $50 for the first offense, $100 for the second, and $250 for the third violation within 7 years. In addition, after the thrid violation, a driver’s license is revoked for a period of 6 months.
And the excuse “I wasn’t texting, I was tweeting!” won’t work. According to the Nevada State driver’s handbook:
The use of a cellular phone or other handheld wireless communications device to manually send, read, search the Internet, or to engage in non-voice communications with another person, including texting, electronic messaging and instant messaging is prohibited.
The new law does not include using a cell phone over a handsfree device such as a bluetooth headset or voice-activated commands.
This new legislation is sure to be an important one. It will change the way that we communicate on the road and, hopefully, bring down the number of distraction-related car accidents every year.
Here are a few tips to help you navigate the law and keep yourself safe while you’re on the road:
- Keep your eyes on the road. Your driver’s ed teacher said it over and over for a reason.
- Get a bluethooth headset or handsfree device and use it. Make sure it’s fully charged and that you are comfortable with it.
- When you get in the car, put your phone in the glove box or in a bag to minimize temptation to answer or make phone calls.
- Have a passenger help you with non driving-related tasks, such as directions.
- Do not call or text someone you know is driving at the time.
Dallas Horton is one of the top personal injury attorneys in Las Vegas, Nevada. He specializes in personal injury, accidents, and wrongful death cases. He has been practicing law for over 15 years and has won millions of dollars in settlements for his clients. For more information or to contact Dallas Horton & Associates, visit his website at GDallasHorton.com or connect with him on Twitter (@gdallashorton) or Facebook (/gdallashorton). Any information contained herein does not constitute and should not be assumed to be legal advice. The contents of this post are the personal opinions of Dallas Horton and should not be assumed to be legal counsel.