June 17, 2011 | Washington, DC
Friday, June 17, 2011
Contact: Karen Aldana
WASHINGTON – U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today commended Nevada Governor 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 hand-held cell phone use while driving.
"I commend Governor Sandoval for signing legislation that will help save lives and put a stop to dangerous distracted driving behavior on Nevada roads," said Secretary LaHood. "In a split second, the consequences of texting behind the wheel can be devastating. There's no call or text so important that it can't wait." The new Nevada law makes it illegal to text or talk on a hand-held 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 can also have their driver licenses suspended. The law is due to become effective on January 1, 2012 but law enforcement officers can begin issuing warnings on October 1.
With the addition of Nevada, 34 states, the District of Columbia, and Guam have now banned text messaging by all drivers. Nine states, the District of Columbia, and the Virgin Islands have prohibited all hand-held cell phone use while driving. In 2009, Secretary LaHood launched a national anti-distracted driving campaign to combat the growing trend of dangerous distracted driving behavior in America. The U.S. DOT has launched a dedicated web site, Distraction.gov, to provide the public with a comprehensive source of information on distracted driving.
The Department has also hosted two national summits devoted to the issue, crafted sample legislation which states can use to adopt distracted driving laws, and initiated pilot law enforcement programs in Hartford, CT and Syracuse, NY modeled after the Department’s successful efforts to increase seatbelt use and curb drunk driving.
In November, the Department of Transportation announced "Faces of Distracted Driving," a video series featuring people from across the country who have been injured or lost loved ones in distracted driving crashes. To watch videos from the "Faces of Distracted Driving" series and learn more about the U.S. Department of Transportation's campaign against distracted driving, visit www.distraction.gov.