Las Vegas isn’t named the Entertainment Capital of the World for nothing. The city receives millions of visitors every year, many of them eager to confirm the city’s reputation.
The thing is, a busy city means busy roads, and in a place like Vegas, heavy traffic can lead to all sorts of problems on the road. Worst-case scenarios are fatal accidents. A 2018 report showed that out of 331 fatal accidents on Nevada roads, 226 took place in Clark County alone.
Las Vegas, the seat of Clark County, reported 138 deadly crashes within the city the same year. It is, therefore, important for travelers to learn more about Nevada traffic laws when visiting Las Vegas.
Here are some of the traffic laws to keep in mind:
1. Safety Belts
All passenger vehicles are required to have safety belts, and every passenger is required to wear one. The belts must have both lap and shoulder straps unless it’s a pre-1970 vehicle, which would then only require lap belts.
As of January 1st this year, vehicles carrying children under six years and below 57 inches tall must be equipped with a child restraint system. If the kids are under two years old, they must ride in the back seat, inside a rear-facing safety seat.
If you’re not familiar with the types of child safety seats to use or how to install them, the NHTSA site has more info.
2. Right and Left on Red
First of all, a red light necessitates a complete stop. You can then perform a left on red turn under special circumstances like going from a one-way street into another. You’re required by law to make sure you can safely execute that turn.
Right on red turns are legal as well if you take precautions and follow these right-of-way guidelines:
- You come to a full stop before making the turn, and the surroundings are suitable.
- You’re in the far right lane, signaling right.
- There’s no sign forbidding right turns on red at that particular intersection.
3. Driving Under the Influence
It’s prohibited to drive under the influence in Las Vegas, whether it’s alcohol or other substances.
First-time DUIs are mostly treated as a misdemeanor. If you get convicted, you’ll be facing anywhere from two days to six months in jail. Fines range from $400 to $1000.
Other penalties under first-time DUI convictions include license suspension, eight-hour DUI school, and Victim Impact Panel sessions.
Under Nevada traffic laws, driving under the influence after three prior DUI convictions is a Category A Felony, attracting a life sentence.
4. Mobile Phone Use
Using hand-held devices when driving in Las Vegas is illegal, whether you’re texting, making calls, or browsing the internet. Hands-free devices or systems installed in your car are not a problem.
If you’re arrested using a hand-held device, you’ll be fined anywhere from $50 to $250, depending on the number of times you committed the crime within seven years. The court may also raise your fine if you got arrested in a busy area.
However, the law on hand-held devices has exceptions for specific individuals like emergency responders, police officers, and users of autonomous vehicles.
5. Underage Driving
Underage drivers in Nevada must have instruction permits and must have completed 50 hours behind the wheel under supervision. For underage visitors hoping to drive in Las Vegas, they must bring out-of-state instruction permits.
Basically, if your home state recognizes your instruction permit, so will Nevada. Still, you can only drive if a licensed passenger 21 years and above is sitting next to you.
6. Unattended Kids & Pets
While it’s bad judgment to leave kids under the age of six unattended in vehicles, it’s still not illegal in many states.
However, Nevada law considers it a criminal offense to leave a child under the age of eight alone in vehicles. The exception is having someone 12 years or older keep an eye on the child.
Similarly, the law considers leaving pets unattended under adverse conditions a crime.
If you’re not familiar with the traffic rules in Las Vegas, driving in the city could have many challenges, some of which you can avoid by being informed.
Remember, Vegas roads can be crowded, and accidents are common. If you get in a crash, follow legal procedure. JT Legal Group can be a valuable resource if you need a personal injury attorney.