June 20, 2011

Nevada bans texting while driving

Last week, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood commended Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval for signing a new law that prohibits talking or texting on a cell phone while driving. The law makes Nevada the 34th state to prohibit texting behind the wheel and the ninth to prohibit all hand-held cell phone use while driving.

"I commend Governor Sandoval for signing legislation that will help save lives and put a stop to dangerous distracted driving behavior on Nevada roads," said Secretary LaHood. "In a split second, the consequences of texting behind the wheel can be devastating. There's no call or text so important that it can't wait."

The new Nevada law makes it illegal to text or talk on a hand-held cell phone while driving. Under the new law, violators face a fine of up to $100 for the first offense; up to $200 for the second offense; and up to $250 for the third offense. In addition, third-time offenders can also have their driver licenses suspended. The law is due to become effective on Jan. 1, 2012 but law enforcement officers can begin issuing warnings on October 1.

With the addition of Nevada, 34 states, the District of Columbia and Guam have now banned text messaging by all drivers. Nine states, the District of Columbia and the Virgin Islands have prohibited all hand-held cell phone use while driving.

In 2009, Secretary LaHood launched a national anti-distracted driving campaign to combat the growing trend of dangerous distracted driving behavior in America. The U.S. Department of Transportation launched a dedicated website, Distraction.gov, to provide the public with a comprehensive source of information on distracted driving.

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