Despite state law, Nevadans are still using cellphones while driving

Published on March 17, 2015, by Matthew Sharp

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Despite state law, Nevadans are still using cellphones while driving

The Nevada Department of Transportation reports that more than 12,000 tickets were issued in 2013 for infractions of the state law that bans using cellphones while driving. The ban includes manually entering any information into the phone, as well as sending or receiving data, searching the Internet, or holding a cellphone to communicate with another person. The number of citations issued has remained high since the law went into effect in 2011.

Drivers continue to ignore consequences

Law enforcement officials speculate that the apparent lack of concern about following the law may have to do with the relatively low consequences. First offenses are not considered moving violations, and the fine is $50. Experts believe that many people are comfortable risking the penalty to keep using the phone. A second offense costs $100, and a third is $250 and a license suspension, and court costs add to the expense. Nevada Highway Patrol Troopers warn drivers that cellphone laws are applicable when vehicles are stopped at red lights, too.

A $50 ticket may not seem like a significant deterrent, but the Nevada Department of Transportation website points out the law is in place because of the risks associated with distracted driving. There are

Campaigns seek to ensure safer driver conduct

A nationwide survey conducted by an insurance company revealed that 80 percent of drivers admit to engaging in hazardous behavior behind the wheel. Surveys and data of this type have prompted many programs and awareness campaigns in an attempt to reduce the number of injuries and fatalities caused by texting and driving.

Nevada has joined other states and organizations in asking citizens to sign the It Can Wait pledge and turn off electronic devices while driving to prevent more injuries and fatalities on the roadways. 3,500 distraction-related car accidents in the state each year, and more than 1 million across the country. Cellphone use is one of the primary distractions, but any activity that pulls the driver’s attention from the road qualifies. This includes the following:

  • Grooming, such as shaving, changing clothes or applying makeup
  • Eating or drinking
  • Reading a book or a map
  • Reaching for a nonmoving object, such as a radio or mp3 player

These behaviors make an accident two to four times more likely to occur, but texting increases the chance of a crash by 23 times due to the number of seconds the driver’s eyes are taken from the road and the distance traveled without maintaining control of the vehicle.

Individuals who have suffered due to an accident caused by a distracted driver may benefit from the advice of a Nevada personal injury attorney.