Saturday, June 4, 2011 | 4:07 p.m.
CARSON CITY – Sen. Shirley Breeden says a lot of people will be mad, but this bill is going to save lives.
Her comments came Saturday after the Senate gave final legislative passage to a bill that bans text messaging and using a cell phone while driving.
By a split voice vote, the Senate approved amendments adopted by the Assembly and sent Senate Bill 140 to Gov. Brian Sandoval.
Breeden, D-Henderson, said the bill would prompt many to buy earpieces because it would be illegal to hold a cell phone while driving.
With the governor's signature the bill will become effective July, 1 but law enforcement officers won’t be able to give citations until January. In the meantime, they can stop a motorist and issue a warning.
Under SB 140, the use of a cell phone is a primary offense and a motorist can be stopped for violating the law, as opposed to the seat belt law, which says not wearing a seat belt is a secondary violation.
The first offense is a misdemeanor with a $50 fine. The second offense carries a $100 fine and the third and later violations are a $250. Those convicted of a third offense will have their drivers’ license suspended for six months.
Law enforcement and fire officials would be exempted during their duties. The bill allows cell phones to be used in answering emergencies.
The bill was approved 12-9 in the Senate and 24-17 in the Assembly.