RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - “The reason I stopped you is because when you were headed into the intersection I saw you had the cell phone up against your left ear. Any reason for it?” asks Nevada Highway Patrol Trooper Matt McLaughlin after he stops the driver.
“Do you have the little ear piece or anything like that?” he asks the driver.
“I do,” the driver replies.
“Any reason why we aren't using it today?” asks the trooper.
“It was a last-minute change that came up,” says the driver.
The trooper says despite the law, people are still talking on the phone, or even texting while driving.
“Most people assume it is putting the phone up to the side of your ear. But it also can refer to text messages, checking anything on the phone. Be it text messages, social media--Facebook, Twitter, anything like that. Any time you are using the phone for any type of data transmission or communications, that is against the law,” says Trooper McLaughlin.
We spotted one driver looking down at his phone while at a stop light--another violation of the law.
Troopers started handing out first-time citations for cell phone use while driving beginning in January 2013. At the end of the year, more than 9,000 tickets were issued. That number jumped by 7,000 the next year--all the way to 2017, when almost 12,000 drivers received tickets.
One trend NHP is seeing is that second-time offenses have gone down over the years.
“Have you ever received a cell phone citation before?” asks Trooper McLaughlin to the driver.
“No. I haven't,” the driver tells the trooper.
“Keep in mind it can be an expensive citation, it also puts points on your license,” says Trooper McLaughlin.
Those second- and third-time offenses count if they are made within a seven-year period.