The entire state of Nevada is into its first full week of a ban on handheld cell phone use while driving. The legislation was enacted in an effort to prevent auto accidents that arise from electronic device-caused distracted driving. Early reports indicate that many drivers in the state are obeying the new law.
But like most laws, the cell phone ban has revealed some unintended consequences.
Police across the state are reporting that instead of ignoring their cell phones while behind the wheel, a large number of people are actually pulling off the roadway onto the shoulder in order to take a cell phone call or return a text message. Drivers are even doing this on busy thoroughfares, highways, and freeways – sometimes during nighttime hours.
There is no law which specifically prohibits using a hand held cell phone while inside a vehicle on the side of the road. However, officials with the Nevada Highway Patrol are stressing that roadway shoulders are designed for emergencies only. Police suggest that any driver who wishes to use his or her cell phone pull into a parking lot or driveway instead of onto the shoulder.
It should be noted that numerous people are injured in crashes every year while sitting in or standing next to a vehicle that is parked on the side of the road. Even though these auto accidents are usually the fault of the driver who initiates the collision, people who choose to use their cell phones in these areas may be putting themselves at risk of being injured.