Nevada Law Frees Hands but Clogs Shoulders
By Daniel C. Vock, Staff Writer
Nevada police recently began enforcing a state ban on texting while driving. The so-called hands-free law will not impose fines until New Year's, but traffic cops started pulling motorists over and giving them warnings at the start of October.
It seems Nevada drivers are getting the message-or at least most of it. Police say motorists are pulling over onto the shoulders to take phone calls, send texts or read email messages, and that does not make the police happy, reports the Las Vegas Review-Journal .
"The shoulders are for bona fide emergencies," Nevada Highway Patrol spokesman Chuck Allen told the paper. Motorists on the side of the road are in a dangerous position; they could easily be swiped by fast-moving vehicles on the highway, he explained.
Nevada is the ninth state to prohibit drivers from using handheld devices and the 34th state to outlaw texting while driving, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures .
Maryland banned handheld devices for drivers two years ago, and since then police have written 5,227 tickets and issued 4,021 warnings, reports The Associated Press . State police wrote more than half of those citations, the wire service notes.
Maryland police cannot pull people over for using a mobile phone, because it is only a secondary offense. That means the cops can only write tickets for people who are also suspected of other illegal activity. But at the beginning of this month, reading texts while driving became a primary offense; police can now stop motorists for scrolling through a text message behind the wheel.