LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Nevada law enforcement agencies are focusing their attention on distracted drivers for the next two weeks in hopes of reducing the number of crashes.

Crashes on Nevada’s roads have been on an upward trend in recent years. By the end of June 2021, there were 164 crashes statewide, compared to 128 during the same period in 2020 which is a 28% increase. Fatal crashes were up 32% with 180 fatalities during the first six months of this year, according to the Nevada Department of Public Safety.

One area of concern has been distracted drivers. Under a 2012 Nevada law, drivers can’t use a handheld device such as a cellphone, mp3 player, or GPS device while driving.

Nevada Highway Patrol, Las Vegas police, North Las Vegas police, and Henderson police will be working together to spot distracted drivers and cite them between July 19 through Aug. 2.

What you face:

  • A person who violates the law faces a misdemeanor and:
  • First-time offenders (within the immediate preceding 7 years) will pay a $50 fine.
  • Second-time offenders (within the immediate preceding 7 years) will pay a $100 fine.
  • Third-time offenders, or subsequence offenses will pay a $250 fine
  • Additional penalities are also possible

The law applies in the following case:

  • The driver of a vehicle can’t use a handheld device for any typing, texting, messaging, reading, nonvoice communication, or voice communications unless the device is used with an accessory that allows hands-free communication.

The law doesn’t apply in the following cases:

  • EMTs, paramedics, ambulance attendants, or others trained to provide emergency medical services and is acting within the scope of their employment.
  • Law enforcement and a person designated by the Sheriff, chief of police, or Department of Public Safety who is acting within the scope of their employment.
  • A person reporting a medical emergency, safety hazard, or criminal activity or who is requesting assistance related to those issues.
  • A person who is responding to a situation that requires immediate action to protect health, welfare or safetly of another person and stopping the vehicle would be inadvisable, impractical or dangerous.
  • a person who is licensed by the FCC as an amateru radio operator and is providing a communication service in connection with an impending disaster or emergency, participating in a drill, test, or other exercise in preparation for a disaster or emergency or otherwise communicating public information.
  • An employee or contractor of a public utility who uses handheld wireless communications devices provided by the public utility, and while responding to a dispatch by the public utility to an emergency such as a power outage.