Bonus Tip: Pay Attention!
In finishing our guide to the top ten written and unwritten traffic rules, we have included a bonus tip that can also help to make potentially serious car accidents and injuries less likely to occur. This involves paying attention and giving your complete focus to the task of driving. While it sounds simple, the fact is that most of us have many things constantly competing for our attention. Behind the wheel, getting distracted by phone calls and texts or even by talking to passengers in your vehicle can increase your risks, jeopardizing your own safety and that of others on the road.
Car Accidents Due to Distracted Driving
According to Zero Fatalities Nevada, a joint campaign of the state Departments of Public Safety and Transportation, distracted driving continues to be a major problem in our area. These types of car accidents kill roughly 300 or more people each year, while leaving more than 1,200 others with serious and potentially life threatening injuries. The Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles (DMVNV) reports that distracted driving consists of any activity that diverts you from the important task of driving. There are three main types of driver distractions:
- Visual distractions, which cause you to take your eyes off the road;
- Manual distractions, which cause you to remove one or both hands from the wheel;
- Cognitive distracted, which cause your mind to wander from the task of driving itself.
Using cellphones to make calls and sending text messages while driving is considered particularly dangerous, as these activities involve all three types of driving distractions. Nationwide, this type of behavior injures more than a half million people each year, while proving fatal for more than 5,000 others.
Written and Unwritten Laws Regarding Distracted Driving in Nevada
The DMV reports that while Nevada distracted driving laws have been on the books for close to a decade, they became even more strict in 2011. Previously, drivers could be cited for using cellphones and texting behind the wheel, but it was a secondary offense, meaning law enforcement had to have another reason for making a stop. In October 2011, these laws changed to make distracted driving in Nevada a primary offense, with fines of up to $250. If you are pulled over for texting or making calls on your cellphone in a work zone, these fines are doubled. Exceptions to this law include:
- When using voice-operated navigation systems or hands-free devices;
- In emergency situations or when reporting criminal activity;
- When handheld devices are used by law enforcement, firefighters, and other public safety officials;
- When used by utility workers responding to emergencies and outages.
Unwritten Distracted Driving Laws
A Nevada DMV fact sheet on distracted driving indicates that, while not illegal, there are certain types of activities other than making calls or sending texts while driving that could put you, your passengers, and other motorists at risk. These include:
- Eating fast food or drinking coffee or other beverages behind the wheel;
- Personal grooming, such as applying makeup or combing your hair in the rear view mirror;
- Adjusting GPS settings or switching car radio stations;
- Taking pictures or videos while driving;
- Reaching for items in the backseat, on floor boards, or in glove departments;
- Talking to other passengers or children in the vehicle.
Even something as simple as mentally reviewing your shopping list or thinking about a work presentation can distract your attention long enough to make a car accident more likely to occur. The DMV estimates that looking away from the road for even five seconds is akin to driving the entire length of a football field blindfolded.
Staying Safe Behind the Wheel
Though we often take it for granted, driving is a major responsibility. Car accidents and injuries happen with alarming regularity, and it is vitally important to adhere to written and unwritten driving rules in order to minimize your risks. When a car accident does occur, the damages you suffer may be severe. Even a minor collision can leave you with injuries that require ongoing medical care, while preventing you from working or engaging in hobbies with family and friends.
In these situations, Naqvi Injury Law is here to help. We provide the aggressive legal representation you need to hold at-fault drivers accountable for the injuries and other damages you have suffered. When crashes and collisions impact you or those you love, contact our Las Vegas car accident attorneys and request a consultation to see how we can help.