New traffic laws take effect in Reno

Published: Aug. 8, 2016 at 11:30 PM PDT
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The Reno Police Department is saying enough is enough when it comes to distracted driving.

"I don't know how many times I’ve seen someone that's got a soda in one hand and a hamburger in the other and they're trying to steer with their knees or their elbows; that's unacceptable, that's unsafe driving," Reno Police Officer Tim Broadway said.

That unsafe driving is causing many of the accidents in our area.

"When we respond to a crash whether it's vehicle versus vehicle, vehicle versus pedestrian, vehicle versus bicycle, and typically there's some type of event that goes on inside the vehicle, whether it's a cell phone, or inattentive or distracted driving that causes the crash," Broadway said.

Starting Monday, August 8, 2016, you could face a stiff $305 penalty if you are caught multi-tasking at the wheel.

"When officers observe people that are possibly putting on makeup, or they're eating, reading a book, they have their pet on their lap and they're unable to maintain a lane, or they're doing something where they're a threat not only to themselves, but other drivers and pedestrians, officers will be able to stop them and give them a ticket for whatever activity they're performing," Broadway said.

To be clear, this law is not saying you may not do these activities while driving; it is only saying a Reno police officer can ticket you if these activities are causing you to be unsafe at the wheel.

This law also doesn't include distractions related to cell phones; that is still its own separate citation.

Another new law is in effect now for Careless Driving – on a street, highway, alley or even in a parking lot – anywhere the public has access.

"The Careless Driving is speeding, not necessarily speeding one to ten miles over, but speeding in an area where there's other people, unsafe lane change, sitting at a stop light and screeching your tires trying to race another person, you're at a parking lot which has open access to the public, you're doing donuts and spinning out, because we get the street racers that like to go do that in some of the more open parking lots, that is Careless Driving and we can cite people for that," Broadway said.

There is a $450 penalty for those caught Careless Driving.

Careless Driving also covers DUIs. If you get a DUI penalty in Reno, you will also be cited for Careless Driving.