Distracted driving in Nevada is an issue that affects all of us. Nearly every year in Nevada there are 3,500 distraction-related crashes, claiming the lives of more than 60 individuals in just the last five years. Nevada certainly isn’t alone in this epidemic. Across the nation in 2009, distracted driving was a factor in 5,500 accident deaths and 500,000 injuries. Clearly, distracted driving is a traffic safety issue that requires strong action.
Fortunately in Nevada, we have a complete ban on all handheld cell phones or similar devices. This means no talking and no texting for anyone. And as of the beginning of this year, the fine for violating that ban is up to $250.
Of course not every problem can be solved by legislation. For one, the ban is only on handheld devices, even though use of hands-free devices still means that you are four times more likely to crash than if you weren’t using a cell phone at all. But more importantly, it is changing driver behavior and attitudes that will ensure safety on our highways when it comes to distracted driving. Those of us behid the wheel have to make a commitment to put the device down and focus on our driving.
Here are some tips to help you limit those distractions behind the wheel:
- 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.
Steve is the Managing Shareholder of Steven J. Klearman & Associates, a civil litigation law firm located in Reno, Nevada. He practices primarily in the areas of civil litigation and injury law, and has authored one of the definitive guides to Nevada civil law that is widely used by Nevada judges and attorneys, his book entitled Elements of Nevada Legal Theories.