Despite Nevada law, many drivers still use their cellphone behind the wheel

22350652_sAs of January 1, 2012, Nevada drivers are restricted from physically handling their cellphones or any other electronic devices while operating a vehicle, according to Nevada’s Zero Fatalities campaign. Although people who break this law face strict penalties, including fines and a suspended driver’s license, they continue to talk and text on their cellphones while driving. In fact, distracted drivers are predicted to cause more fatal accidents than intoxicated drivers this coming year, as reported by the Nevada Highway Patrol.

While officials from the Nevada Highway Patrol expected the number of texting and driving citations to decline over time, tickets have actually increased by 67 percent from last year, according to 8 News Now. The Nevada Department of Transportation launched the Zero Fatalities campaign, which is designed to educate drivers on the dangers of driving and texting, as well as the penalties associated with the illegal practice.

Focus on zero fatalities

Currently, Nevada is one of only 14 states that bans hand-held cellphone use in the state, as reported by the Governors Highway Safety Association. Nevada has made this law primary, meaning that law enforcement officials can pull over and cite anyone found engaging in this practice, regardless of whether they have disobeyed any other traffic laws. Restricted practices under Nevada legislation include:

  • Using a handheld cellphone or electronic device while stopped at a stop light or while driving.
  • Handling a GPS device or programming information into it while driving or stopped at a stoplight.
  • Playing music if it involves handling the device.
  • Emailing, texting, searching the internet or doing anything else on a device while behind the wheel of a vehicle.

If a situation should occur where a person must use their cellular device, they are encouraged to pull off of the road to do so. Voice-operated navigation systems and hands-free devices are also legal to use in Nevada

Why did Nevada pass this law?

Texting and talking on a hand-held cellular device is especially dangerous because it involves the three main types of distractions, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. These activities require drivers to remove their hands from the steering wheel, which is a manual distraction, and their eyes off of the road, making it a visual distraction. They also invoke cognitive distraction, which occurs when the driver attains ‘inattention blindness,’ from removing their focus from the task of driving. This can delay reaction times, which may lead to a devastating car accident.

Distracted driving car accidents can cause serious injury, pain and suffering to motorists on the road. While Nevada has taken an important step by banning handheld cellphone and electronic device use while driving, many believe that more work must be done to find a way to enforce these life-saving laws.