Distracted Driver Law

By: Kara Tsuboi
By: Kara Tsuboi

After a 9 year old girl was accidentally killed in a Sun Valley car crash almost two years ago, a group of concerned neighbors formed the Citizen Advisory Board.

Since then, they've been instrumental in lobbying the state government for stricter fatal accident driver penalties...after all, the responsible driver in that crash only received a citation for failure to maintain a traffic lane.

Today, the group's hard work paid off as the governor inked Assembly Bill 295 into law.

"We feel real good that this was a grassroots thing for all the citizens of the state of Nevada to come together. Not just the north, not just the south, but all together so we could have a bill of this nature," says John Jackson, Senior with the Sun Valley Citizens Advisory Board.

"When they violated the law, there was no way of ever showing they were responsible for killing another person when the death ensued. This law now will at least show on their record that they were responsible for the death of a human being," says Dick Gammick, Washoe County's District Attorney.

Already, the penalties for vehicular manslaughter include a one thousand dollar fine and up to six months in jail.

Now, in addition to those two penalties, if someone's convicted, this new bill calls for stricter charges, including a criminal penalty, putting the incident on the driver's record and suspending the driver's license for 1 year.

The new law can be applied when a driver causes the death of another person through simple negligence such as talking on a cell phone, eating or putting on makeup.

"Don't think you can drive down the road, dialing a cellphone, looking for numbers and not pay attention. It just takes a split second with your eyes off the road," says Governor Kenny Guinn.

He hopes this bill will make drivers more aware of their actions...and consequences.

Now that the governor has signed it, the new law will go into effect October first of this year.


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