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August 1, 2014

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Contrary to tweet, cellphone law goes into effect Oct. 1

SB 140 (Cell Phones and Driving)

Talking on a cellphone and texting while driving is, for the next few months, still legal in Nevada, even if it’s not advised.

A perception has spread — kindled by police and confirmed by an informal poll of typically well-informed colleagues and friends — that the ban, passed by the Legislature and signed by Gov. Brian Sandoval last month, took effect Friday.

Not so. The law doesn’t take effect until Oct. 1. Only then will police be able to pull over motorists and issue verbal warnings. Starting Jan. 1, police can issue tickets for talking without an earpiece or texting while driving.

If this is news to you, you’re not alone.

Metro Police tweeted last week that they would begin pulling over gabbing motorists Friday, the first day of the month.

That prompted a news release from the Nevada Public Safety Department, which oversees the Nevada Highway Patrol, that the law doesn’t go into effect until Oct. 1. Sandoval also tweeted the reminder.

Part of the confusion might have arisen from the fact there is no timetable in the bill about when it takes effect. Carson City veterans know that unless otherwise stated in legislation, new laws by default take effect Oct. 1.

Metro Officer Jay Rivera acknowledged an erroneous tweet was sent out, stating that the law was to take effect Friday. He said it was corrected within a couple of minutes.

He said officers on the street were never given the July 1 date, and no drivers were mistakenly stopped and given warnings.

He did note that Nevada has had “distracted driving” infractions on its books for years. That would include applying makeup, eating, tuning your radio or, of course, talking on your cellphone.

So what to do if Johnny Law erroneously pulls you over for talking on your cellphone?

Allen Lichtenstein, an American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada attorney, said: First, be polite; inform the officer that the law goes into effect Oct. 1; if the officer persists, politely get the name of the officer and badge number, and report to the department that officers are working with some bad information.

Do not — he repeats do not — think you can ignore the flashing lights.

“Nobody needs a confrontation on this,” he said. “It doesn’t help police. It certainly doesn’t help the citizen.”

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  1. He did note that Nevada has had "distracted driving" infractions on its books for years. That would include applying makeup, eating, tuning your radio or, of course, talking on your cellphone.

    Then why did this law pass?

  2. Its all about SAFETY of course. . . especially the safety of gov jobs and the $ this will bring in to help improve their pay checks and benefits, remember the gov and law enforcement are here too help. . . What will the response be in a couple of years when fatalities do not decrease due to this money grabbing bill. As noted in the article Nevada already has a distracted driving statute on the books that included texting and talking on a cell phone. The bill is another chance(excuse) for police to stop and harass and erode the few remaining liberty's(RIGHTS) we the people have that are guaranteed . . .to be secure in our persons and effects and unlawful search and seizure? How many lawmakers that voted yes on this will benefit from this legislation. . .not be ticketed for the very same infractions???

  3. To Paul,

    You have said exactly what I was thinking and put it into words very well. One other thing, shouldn't our insurance rates go down? I would rather pay the extra 5 dollars and use my phone, but we should get a credit for it.

    It all started with seat-belts

  4. "People don't have the sense God gave them. Just yesterday a lady was in the fast lane on I-15 N at the peak of traffic gabbing on her phone, she was holding up traffic going 55 mph and could have cared less! I drove by and wondered why she was going so slow and boom there was the cell phone.She could have been having high tea slow as she was going. The drivers are clueless in NV." - thekube

    I might be wrong, but isn't the speed limit 55 MPH in many place on I15 along the Strip and downtown, especially in the construction zones?

  5. boftx...
    I-15 is PREDOMINATELY 65. Even behind the strip, in the resort corridor.
    Regardless, going 55 in the "passing lane", or far left lane of the freeway, even in a 55 zone, is IMPEDING TRAFFIC, DANGEROUS, SELFISH, and DOWNRIGHT STUPID.
    Doing so whilst talking away on your cell phone, and not giving a damn about the hundred-car lineup BEHIND YOU, proves you to be mentally deficient, IMO.
    I am not positive, sir, but I THINK you can be cited for IMPEDING TRAFFIC for going 55 in the left lane of a 55 mph freeway/highway... you aren't supposed to "hang out" in the passing lane at your fricking leasure, any more than you are supposed to PASS PEOPLE on the RIGHT.

  6. @ jt2ou > Seat belts do save lives, texting is dangerous especially in high density areas, I have never ever used texting while driving or sitting still, i just don't need or use it. I have used my cell phone driving here in Esmeralda County, one of if not the least most populated counties in Nevada.

  7. @fearNloathing...

    "Your mind is caught between the concentration of driving and listening, as the caller has no idea what you're facing with traffic."

    GREAT explanation.
    It doesn't MATTER if you're a "good driver" or "smart" or a "multi-tasker"... it's ALL ABOUT THE WAY THE BRAIN IS WIRED.

    If you think that you're "GIFTED" and able to do what others cannot; your EGO is winning the battle.

    There's going to have to be changes in the way some people do business.
    Cops aren't the only ones that drive around with computer equipment, cell phones and 2-way radios...
    What will happen is that businesses will change their POLICY, but the de-facto PRACTICE will remain problematic, because, as opposed to police work, some people are paid by volume, volume, VOLUME! and/or feel the need to impress the powers that be with their apparent "efficiency"...

    We all know this is gonna be tough to enforce, is in fact a redundant law, and that stuff like "heavily tinted windows" will inhibit law enforcement's ability to enforce. HOWEVER... the problem is SO WIDESPREAD and such a clear DANGER to folks traveling our highways & byways, that it would be IRRESPONSIBLE and FOOLISH not to try to reign it in.
    I imagine a much simpler solution would be if people would simply turn the damn things off and drive!