Not such great news to find out that Nevada drivers still use cell phones while driving.
A few months back, researchers at University of Nevada, Reno campus, released their results which determined that 27% of Nevada drivers still use cell phones while driving.
The study also showed that 13% of Nevadans sent text messages while driving.
In October of 2010, police officers started stopping people and warning them about the new law going into effect into 2011, however no tickets were given out until January 1 of this year.
According to 8 News Now, the Nevada Highway Patrol (NHP) has released their count of tickets issued to people using their cell phones while driving.
A whopping 12,000 tickets were used in 2011.
Breaking it down further, that equates to approximately 230 tickets per week or 32 tickets per day.
Why do Nevada drivers still use cell phones while driving?
It’s likely a mix of convenience, or perhaps they think they will not get caught.
The majority of the tickets issued were to first time offenders, although there were still tickets issued for second and third offenses.
Fines are fairly steep.
According to 8 News now, a first offense carries a $112 fine, second offenses will cost $182 and serial offenders, who are busted three or more times, receive a fine of $352, however it is very difficult to find accurate information on the cell phone ban as well as fines assessed.
Depending on where you look, even on official state sites, the information available varies.
A great example of “red tape” and a never-ending loop.
Here’s an example,
The Nevada Revised Statutes (NRS 484B.165) lists completely different information on fines. Completely.
SB 140, the bill actually passed is so confusing, with all the versions out there, that most people would need an attorney to decipher it for them.
The easiest way to understand the law is to refer to what is posted on the Nevada DMV site. I have actually printed this out and carry it in my car.
Let’s say you have a bluetooth device or a voice activation feature on your phone that requires you to touch your phone to connect. Did you know that is OK?
According to DMV, it is.
You can talk using a hands-free headset and, while making voice calls, touch the phone to “activate, deactivate or initiate a feature or function on the device”.
As for fines, the Nevada DMV says,
The fines are $50 for the first offense in seven years, $100 for the second and $250 for the third and subsequent offenses. Fines are subject to doubling if the offense occurs in a work zone. The first offense is not treated as a moving violation for DMV and insurance purposes.
I’m sure there are many people who do not know that they are permitted to touch their phone to activate or deactivate a feature or function, and perhaps even members of law enforcement are confused, since the information available is a complete mess.
You are also permitted to use a mounted GPS device.
It is unfortunate that Nevada drivers still use cell phones while driving, in violation of the laws enacted. They can and do save lives.
The solution is easy.
Use a hands free device and if you phone, has a voice activated feature that requires you to activate it or deactivate it, you can use it.
Just be sure to carry the official DMV flyer with you so you can show it to the officer if your stopped. If you still get a ticket, then you can bring the flyer to court. (Be sure to write the actual web address on the flyer. The address, as of this writing, is http://www.dmvnv.com/pdfforms/qtlaws11.pdf)