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FRIENDS DON’T LET FRIENDS TEXT AND DRIVE

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Texting and hand-held cell phone use is illegal in Nevada.The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that in 2014, distracted drivers caused thousands of accidents across the nation.  In that year 3,179 people died in these accidents, and 431,000 others were hurt.  Ten percent of young drivers, age 15 to 19 years old, who were involved in a fatal crash were found to be driving while distracted.  Why is it so dangerous and what are the costs?

Risks

Most people will continue to drive while texting, or talking on their hand-held cell phone until something bad happens.  NHTSA estimates that for every daytime second, as many as 600,000 US drivers are using cell phones while driving.  An NHTSA survey revealed that 20% – 30% of drivers, under the age of 34, believe that texting does not impact their driving. Why does texting cause more accidents?

  • The average driver takes his or her eyes off the road for at least five seconds
  • Drivers traveling 55 mph, who are distracted for five seconds, are completely blind for 120 yards
  • A third of your brain activity is focused on the phone, not on driving

Penalties

If pulled over for distracted driving in Nevada, the first penalty is a $50 fine.  If pulled over a second time in seven years, the fine goes up to $100, and the offense is considered a moving violation, costing you points on your license, and often a raise in insurance rates.  A third violation in a seven-year period is a $250 fine, and further loss of points.

Enforcement

Police officers are required to actually see the phone in someone’s hand, or observe them texting, in order to have probable cause to stop the vehicle.  If there has been a serious car accident, proving that a driver was distracted at the time, can be challenging, but there are ways to gather evidence, including:

  • Witness testimony, including people riding in the vehicle
  • Details noted by police officers
  • Driver admission
  • Cell phone records
  • Surveillance cameras

Distracted driving kills.  Texting while behind the wheel results in too many, literally, last words.  Be a friend and don’t let friends text and drive.

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