Restrictions on cell use while driving wins Assembly approval |

Restrictions on cell use while driving wins Assembly approval

Nevada Appeal Capitol Bureau

A bill to ban use of hand held cellphones and texting while driving passed the Assembly on Monday. SB140 goes back to the Senate for concurrence on amendments that added emergency utility repair vehicles to the list of police and others exempt from the prohibitions.

The measure also contains exemptions from the ban for those reporting an accident or other emergency.

Similar to the current law in California, SB140 by Sen. Shirley Breeden, D-Las Vegas, requires that those wishing to use a cellphone while driving use hands-free equipment. Texting while driving is banned entirely in the legislation.

SB140 takes effect July 1 but, until Jan. 1 2012, police will only be issuing warnings. That was designed to get Nevada drivers and tourists accustomed to the change in current law.

There was extensive testimony during hearings on the measure indicating that accidents are much more likely when people are distracted while driving by being on their cellphone. Texting, according to law enforcement, is extremely dangerous and greatly increases the likelihood of a wreck.