Thursday, 12 January 2012 08:47

Nevada Texting While Driving Ban Takes Effect

Back in June, Nevada became the 34st state to ban texting while driving. Nevada also passed a law banning handheld cell-phone use while behind the wheel, although hands-free cell phone use (such as through Bluetooth) remained legal.

Officers began issuing warnings in October, although the law officially hit the books January 1, 2012.

Las Vegas police wasted no time in enforcing the state’s new ban on driving while texting or talking on a handheld device, according to Insurance Journal. Police Sgt. Peter Kisfalvi told the Las Vegas Sun that officers wrote more than 230 citations in the first week of the year.

Fines are $50 (first offense), then $100 (second) and then $250 (subsequent violations) now that the warning period is over.

Enforcement of the Nevada bans is primary, meaning drivers can be stopped and cited for that reason alone.

The bill behind the law, SB 140, was approved by Gov. Brian Sandoval, who had made it clear that he would support a statewide ban on text messaging while driving. The Assembly’s final vote came May 30, 2011, and the Senate signed off June 4.

Sen. Shirley Breeden, who authored the bill, added handheld cell phones to the 2011 version of the bill; her 2010 version failed to pass.

The Senate lowered fines to match the Assembly’s version in order to get the distracted driving bill through.