ELKO – Local law enforcement officers will be paying attention to drivers who aren’t paying attention to the road this week.
The “Joining Forces” effort will focus on distracted drivers from now through August 4. The Nevada Highway Patrol will be working with the Elko County Sheriff’s Office, Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office, Lander County Sheriff’s Office, West Wendover Police Department, White Pine County Sheriff’s Office and the Winnemucca Police Department to urge motorists to keep their eyes on the road.
Distracted driving is any activity that diverts attention from driving, according to a release from the Nevada Department of Public Safety.
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“Talking or texting on your phone is the most egregious, however, eating and drinking, grooming, adjusting the stereo, entertainment or navigation system, even talking to people in your vehicle may cause you to be distracted. Anything that takes your attention away from the task of safe driving is a distraction.”
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reminds drivers that:
- Texting is the most alarming distraction. Sending or reading a text takes your eyes off the road for approximately 5 seconds. At 55 mph, that’s like driving the length of an entire football field with your eyes closed. Now imagine sending or receiving a text at freeway speeds of 75 to 80 mph.
- You cannot drive safely unless the task of driving has your full attention. Any non-driving activity you engage in is a potential distraction and increases your risk of crashing.
- Distracted driving is dangerous, claiming 3,166 lives in 2017 alone.
- Between 2012-2017, nearly 20,000 people died in crashes involving a distracted driver.
Nevada’s “cellphone law” (NRS 484B.165), went into effect in 2012. The law states you “shall not” use a cellular telephone or other handheld wireless communications device while operating a motor vehicle. Exceptions include emergency first responders acting within the scope of their duty. Exceptions also include a “Good Samaritan” clause for motorists who are calling 911 to report a medical emergency, a safety hazard or criminal activity.