U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood on Friday, June 17, commended Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval for signing a tough 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 handheld cell phone use while driving.
The new Nevada law makes it illegal to text or talk on a handheld 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 also can have their driver licenses suspended. The law is due to become effective on Jan. 1, 2012; law enforcement officers will begin issuing warnings on Oct. 1.
“In a split second, the consequences of texting behind the wheel can be devastating,” LaHood says. “There’s no call or text so important that it can’t wait.”
With the addition of Nevada, 34 states, the District of Columbia and Guam now have banned text messaging by all drivers. Nine states, the District of Columbia and the Virgin Islands have prohibited all handheld cell phone use while driving.
States that haven’t yet banned texting while driving are Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas and West Virginia. Some localities in those states have passed their own distracted driving bans, but Florida, Mississippi and Oklahoma prohibit localities from enacting such laws.