SB 140, before the Nevada Senate, would make it a violation for any driver to read or send data while operating a motor vehicle.

Nevada Moves Closer to Texting, Hand-Held Ban

Several state residents supported two bills during a Senate committee's hearing on Tuesday. One bill would make it a violation for any driver to read or send data while operating a motor vehicle. The other would apply to minor drivers only.

Nevada, one of 11 states that do not have restrictions in place for using cellphones to call or text while driving, may be about to enact such a law. The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported Wednesday that several state residents supported such bills during a three-hour hearing in Carson City by the state Senate Transportation Committee.

The bills would prohibit some or all drivers from texting while driving or using a hand-held phone while driving, according to the report by Ed Vogel of the newspaper's capital bureau.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety maintains an updated chart of cellphone laws nationwide. Currently, 30 states and Washington, D.C., ban text messaging for all drivers, and eight states ban texting while driving by novice drivers. Those states are Alabama, Indiana, Maine, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, and West Virginia.

The two bills are SB140, by Sen. Shirley Breeden, a Democrat representing part of Clark County, and SB145, by Sen. Mark Manendo, D-Las Vegas. Breeden's bill would make it a violation for any driver to read or send data while operating a motor vehicle. The fine for the first offense, a misdemeanor, would be $250; the second offense within the immediately preceding seven years would be punishable by a $500 fine, and the third or subsequent violations would be punishable by a $1,000 fine. Law enforcement and emergency personnel acting within the scope of their employment would be exempt, as would anyone using a cellphone to report or request help for a medical emergency, safety hazard, or criminal activity, "or if the person is responding to a situation requiring immediate action and stopping the vehicle would be inadvisable, impractical or dangerous," the bill states. Manendo's bill would apply to minor drivers only.

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