Handheld cell use illegal when driving

Date Published: 2011-09-30

Contact: Meg Ragonese

Phone: (775) 888-7172

Title: Governor, Others Remind Drivers of New Nevada Handheld Cell Phone Ban

Story Text:







     CARSON CITY, Nev.Governor Brian Sandoval, the Nevada Departments of Public Safety and Transportation and other traffic safety partners held an event in Carson City to remind drivers that handheld cellphone use while driving is prohibited in the state as of Oct. 1.

     As of Oct. 1, law enforcement is giving motorists a warning for driving while talking, typing or reading on a handheld cellphone or similar device. Beginning Jan. 1, 2012, fines of up to $250, depending on the number of offenses, will be imposed for any driver using a handheld phone or device to talk, type or read.

     “There are approximately 3,400 distraction-related crashes in Nevada every year, and more than 50 deaths in the past five years,” Governor Sandoval said. “These distracted driving crashes include drivers using a cellphone while behind the wheel. Because someone was driving distracted or didn’t put their phone away, there is a family member who is not coming home. I remind all Nevadans to put their phone away while driving, and let’s keep us all safe on Nevada roads.”

     “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.”

    “I had to take two years out of my life to take physical therapy,” Nevadan Jenifer Watkins described of her experience after being hit by a distracted driver. “It’s totally changed my life. I had to take two years out of my life, all because of a distracted driver.”

     “This new law is in line with the goals of Nevada’s new Zero Fatalities traffic safety goal that we are asking all Nevadans to adopt,” Nevada Department of Transportation Director Susan Martinovich explained. “Buckle up, don’t drive impaired, put away the cellphone and other distractions while driving – these are some easy ways to help us all reach Zero Fatalities each time we drive.”

      Across the nation in 2009, nearly 5,500 people died and half a million were injured in crashes involving a

distracted driver. The number is believed to represent only the tip of the iceberg because police reports cannot always document whether distraction was a factor in vehicle crashes.



Additional Options to Limit Distractions 


Before driving, secure your cellphone in a place such as the glove box where you will not be able or tempted to access it while driving.

Make any necessary phone calls before or after driving. If you must make a call while driving, pull over to a safe area such as a parking lot before making or receiving a call or texting. Note: do not park directly off to the side of the road to make a call. This is not safe due to the proximity to moving traffic. 

Seek out and install an application that blocks phone calls and texting while driving.  

Do not call someone who you know is driving at the time.

Remain focused on the road.Do not eat, apply makeup, reach across the vehicle for items or conduct any other distracting activities while driving.

Ask a passenger to assist you with activities that may be distracting while you are driving, such as reading directions.