Nevada Enforces Cell Phone Ban While Driving

Just in case you didn’t know, Nevada Highway Patrol began enforcing the state’s new distracted driving law that bans motorists from texting and using hand-held cellphones while driving, Oct. 1.

Motorists are no longer allowed to talk or text on a handheld cell phone or similar device while driving under legislation passed by the 2011 Nevada Legislature. As of now if pulled over you will recieve a warning for driving while using a handheld cell phone. Beginning Jan. 1, 2012, fines of up to $250 will be imposed for any driver using a handheld phone or similar device to talk, read or type. The ban already exists in California.

Nevada is the 34th state to ban texting while driving and the ninth to prohibit all hand-held cellphone using while driving.

Studies have shown that motorists are four times more likely to crash when driving while talking on a cell phone. In fact, driving while talking or texting can delay your reaction time as much as driving legally drunk, even if it is by Bluetooth or other hands-free method.

NHP reports there have been more than 3,500 distraction-related crashes in Nevada every year, and more than 60 deaths in the past five years. 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.

One trend that NHP is concerned about is motorists who pull over to the side of the road to talk on the phone. NHP spokesman Chuck Allen said pulling onto the shoulders could be dangerous and drivers should realize they could be struck by another vehicle or injured or killed.

Drivers should pull into parking lots or less busy side streets to make calls, Allen advises.

Here are other ways to limit your driving 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.

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