Nevada Cellphone Law Leads to New Roadside Hazards: Report

A Nevada Highway Patrol spokesman said that many drivers are pulling onto the shoulders of busy highways and freeways to take or make cellphone calls.

Nevada Highway Patrol (NHP) on Oct. 1 began enforcing the state’s new distracted driving law that bans motorists from texting and using hand-held cellphones while driving.

Police said most motorists complied with the new law over the weekend. However, an unexpected safety issue has arisen as a result of the cellphone ban, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported Monday.

NHP spokesman Chuck Allen said that many drivers are pulling onto the shoulders of busy highways to take or make cellphone calls, according to the report by Ed Vogel of the newspaper’s capital bureau.

Allen said pulling onto the shoulders could be dangerous and drivers should realize they could be struck by another vehicle or injured or killed.

Drivers should pull into parking lots or less busy side streets to make calls, NHP troopers advised.

This potential problem never came up during legislative hearings on the cellphone bill earlier in the year, Vogel reported.

Police also said that some drivers didn’t know that using cellphones at stoplights is prohibited.

Law enforcement is giving motorists a warning for driving while using a hand-held cellphone. Beginning Jan. 1, 2012, fines of up to $250 will be issued.

Nevada is the 34th state to ban texting while driving and the ninth to prohibit all hand-held cellphone using while driving.

After passing the distracted driving law in June, the Nevada Department of Transportation released the following distracted driving tips:

  • 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 the side of the road to make a call. This is not safe due to the proximity to moving traffic.
  • Do not eat, apply makeup, or reach across the vehicle for items while driving.
  • Ask a passenger to assist you with the activities that may be distracting you while you are driving, such as reading directions.
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