Nevada has more than 70,000 miles of roadways, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. These roads can be difficult to navigate without a map, but the proliferation of paper directions has dwindled in recent years thanks to new technologies.

Electronic navigation programs have become so prevalent, law enforcement officials have seen the need for legislation that governs their use. When a driver fails to comply with the laws, it can lead to tickets and higher insurance premiums, as well as creating significant risk for everyone else on the road. A car accident attorney in Las Vegas is typically aware of the Nevada-specific laws governing GPS use in vehicles.

Dangers of handheld devices

All driver use of handheld electronic devices is banned in Nevada. This legislation has been developed in response to alarming data regarding distracted driving behavior. In a report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that visual, manual and cognitive distractions caused 421,000 injury crashes and 3,328 fatalities in the United States during 2012. A driver distraction is anything that draws the eyes, hands or mind from the task of driving.

Many people may associate texting with driver distraction thanks to all the public awareness campaigns. It is true that the typical text takes eyes, hands and attention from the road for an average of five seconds. This is similar to driving the length of a football field blindfolded, and raises the risk of an accident by more than 23 times, according to a study by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute. However, even looking away from the road for two seconds to glance at a navigation device doubles the risk of a crash. As many a car accident attorney in Las Vegas knows, taking a hand off the wheel to reach for an item in the vehicle such as a GPS can raise the risk of a collision by more than 6 times.

Screen limits in Nevada

To reduce the risks associated with distracted driving, Nevada is one of 28 states that does not allow drivers to attach an electronic device such as a phone or GPS system to the windshield. In fact, according to the American Automobile Association’s Digest of Motor Laws, it is against the law for an electronic screen to be visible from the driver’s seat at all except for traffic safety or navigation use. Simply having an activated device visible in the front seat can be cause for a distracted driving ticket if a driver is pulled over by a law enforcement official.

Safety experts recommend that drivers read and review directions before getting in the car. If there is any question, the safest action is to pull over before looking at a navigational device or a map. A car accident attorney in Las Vegas may be able to provide legal advocacy when another’s careless driving harms an individual.