Nevada Distracted Driving Accidents
With more than 3,500 distraction-related crashes in Nevada every year, it is obvious distracted driving is a dangerous problem. Many of the distracted driving accidents that occur are due to cell phone talking and texting, but that is not the only distraction that can take a driver’s attention off the road.
A driver can be distracted by even the simplest things such as:
- Eating and drinking
- Adjusting your music player or radio
- Using GPS or other navigation system
- Talking to passengers
In short, distracted driving is basically anything that takes a driver’s attention from the road.
However, the most frightening of all driver distractions is by far cell phone use, i.e. talking or texting while driving. Cell phone users are 4 times more likely to injure themselves in serious crashes and texting while driving creates a 23 times more likely crash risk than not being distracted! These statistics, from the Nevada Department of Transportation, are disturbing.
What’s worse, many Nevadans do not even realize that it is illegal now to talk or text on a handheld cell phone or similar device while driving. As of January 1, 2012, it is a crime to handle a cell phone or other electronic device while driving in Nevada and that includes talking and texting. With this law in effect, this means an officer can pull you over and ticket you if they see you are distracted while driving and using your phone. Fines for such a crime are up to $250 if you are caught using any handheld phone to talk, read or text.
The reason cell phone use is such a hazard on the road is because these actions –talking and texting while driving– require a combination of visual, manual and cognitive attention from a driver. Using a cell phone and driving reduces the amount of brain activity associated with driving by 37%. Due to this, the likelihood of a crash increases dramatically when you text and drive.
In 2014, traffic deaths went up from the previous year. As a way to combat this, in the summer of 2014, the Nevada Highway Patrol launched a pilot program designed to break drivers of the bad habit of distracted driving. By September that same year, it was reported that the NHP called the program a success.
During the pilot program in July 2014, police would pull drivers over who were seen texting or talking on the phone. They ticketed drivers breaking this new cell phone law and also gave the option of completing an online education program, which upon completion, resulted in the ticket being dismissed. NHP reported they had issued 290 tickets and of those, 98% chose to take part in the online program. The program requires ticketed drivers to watch videos, fill out surveys among other activities for a total of 28 days. NHP reported a 60% completion rate to which they said resulted in about 150 people now being better educated on distracted driving.
Remember, distracted driving is a hazard to you and others on the road so we need to pay attention as responsible drivers. What’s more, when roads get wet from rain, it causes even more safety concerns as the roadway gets slick and reduces your vehicle’s tire traction. Add to that the fact that rain can reduce or impair a driver’s view of the road, and it’s easy to see that driving in the rain needs to be treated with extra caution. Therefore, during inclement weather please be sure to put down your phone and refrain from distracted driving to ensure you have 100% complete focus on the roads. Managing distractions is of vital importance. It can save a life, including your very own. Avoid distracted driving accidents. Stay alert and be safe on the road!