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August 2, 2015

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Police remind drivers that cellphone ban is on the way

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Christopher DeVargas

Eyes on the Road,” the campaign that kicks off a new law that bans the use of a handheld electronic device while driving, is unveiled Friday, Sept. 23, 2011. The law takes effect Oct. 1, 2011.

Law banning use of handheld cell phones while driving about to take effect

KSNV coverage of new law that bans use of handheld cell phones while driving, Sept. 23, 2011.

Eyes On The Road

Nevada Senator Shirley Breeden makes a few remarks during the kick off a new law that bans the use of a hand held electronic device while driving Friday, Sept. 23, 2011. The law takes effect October 1, 2011. Launch slideshow »

SB 140 (Cell Phones and Driving)

LOL. OMG. RIP.

Officials are using signs with that message in hopes of getting their point across to all ages: Not only is talking or texting with a cellphone while driving dangerous, it will soon be illegal.

Politicians behind the ban joined with law enforcement and driving safety advocates today for a news conference to remind drivers of the new law, which takes effect Oct. 1.

After that, officers will aggressively pull over motorists who are talking or texting with handheld phones, but they’ll be issuing warnings until Jan. 1, when they will begin issuing misdemeanor fines of $50.

A first offense will not be treated as a moving traffic violation, but a second offense in a seven-year period carries a $100 fine plus points on the driver’s record and the third and subsequent offenses would result in $250 fines. Those convicted of a third offense in a seven-year period will have their driver’s license suspended for six months.

Nevada Highway Patrol Sgt. Kevin Honea said troopers and police officers would be happy if the warning period is enough to stop people from using their phones.

“Ideally we’d get to everybody and in a perfect world come Jan. 1, we never have to write this citation,” he said. “That would mean we got the message to everybody and everybody understood it.”

That’s not likely to happen, he acknowledged, and officers will be watching closely to enforce the law, he said.

Those responsible for the law hope the citations will encourage people to be safe.

State Sen. Shirley Breeden, D-Henderson, sponsor of the bill that became law, said she knows not everyone will follow the rules, but she hopes the financial consequences in bad economic times will encourage obedience.

“It hits them in the pocketbook,” she said.

State Sen. Mark Manendo, D-Las Vegas, had similar ideas: “There are only certain things that really get people’s attention,” he said. “I don’t think many things work better than hitting their pocketbook and putting points on their license.”

Manendo said this is the most important public safety bill he’s seen in 18 years in the Legislature.

“No bill has more of a significant impact on the day-to-day lives of people in Nevada than this bill,” he said.

Others at today’s event sought to encourage participation through the heartstrings.

Brian LaVoie gave a tearful account of the last time he saw his 18-year-old daughter, Hillary, one year ago. Hillary wasn’t wearing a seat belt when the driver of the car she was in lost control while talking on the phone.

“I come here not for your sympathy, not for your tears and not for the sadness,” LaVoie said. “I come here to educate you and to prevent you from belonging to the club that … no one wants to belong to, the club that my wife Tina and I belong to. We have lost our child.”

Now, the memory of his daughter and the desire to warn others is what gets him out of bed in the morning despite his grief, he said.

“Please, put down your cellphone, do not text and always wear your seat belt.”

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