Sheriff’s Office Issues 150 Warnings to Drivers Using Hand Held Cell Phones since October 1st

The Washoe County Sheriff’s Office wants to remind the public that texting, accessing the internet and hand-held cell phone use while driving is against the law in Nevada. The Sheriff’s Office reports that 150 warnings (verbal and written combined) have been issued since October 1, 2011 to drivers using a cellular telephone while operating a motor vehicle. This traffic law was passed by the 2011 Nevada Legislature – legislative bill number SB 140. A driver may talk on a phone using a hands-free device.

Law enforcement shall issue a verbal or written warning to drivers informing the person that he or she has violated the traffic law under Nevada Revised Statutes (NRS) Chapter 484B – Rules of the Road. Verbal or written warnings will be issued through December 31, 2011. Beginning January 1, 2012, 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.

Exceptions to this law include:

* Any person reporting a medical emergency, a safety hazard or criminal activity.
* Drivers using a voice-operated navigation system affixed to the vehicle or those riding in autonomous vehicles.
* Drivers using citizen band or other two-way radios that require a license and have a separate, handheld microphone.
* Law enforcement officers, firefighters or emergency medical personnel acting within the scope of their employment.
* Utility workers responding to an outage or emergency and using devices provided by the company.
* Amateur radio operators providing communications services during an emergency or disaster.

150 warnings issued by the Sheriff’s Office does not reflect the number of motorist who continue to drive distracted. The Sheriff’s Office urges all motorists to eliminate distractions and keep focused on the roadway.