Traffic Laws You Should Know
Nevada has a Basic Rule for driving at reasonable and proper speeds. This means that in addition to any posted speed limits, you must consider the amount and type of traffic, weather, road conditions and other factors. The proper speed may be considerably less than the posted limit.
Motorists passing a bicycle must move into an adjacent
lane to the left, if possible. If not, the motorist must pass with at least three feet of space between the
vehicle and the bicycle. (NRS 484B.270)
Motorists may be charged with reckless driving if they are at-fault in any collision with a bicyclist or a pedestrian. Penalties include a driver license suspension. (NRS 484B.280)
When bicycles are ridden with other traffic, cyclists must obey the same rules and regulations as other types of vehicles. The safe interaction between bicyclists and motorists is the responsibility of both parties.
Motorists are not allowed to intentionally interfere with the movement of a person lawfully operating a bicycle; bicyclists may not intentionally interfere with the movement of a motor vehicle.
- At intersections, motorists must yield to cyclists as they would for other vehicles and pedestrians.
- When passing a cyclist, motorists must move into an adjacent lane to the left if possible. If not, the motorist must pass with at least 3 feet of clearance. Motorists are allowed to cross the center lane of the highway if is safe to do so.
- Motorists must yield the right-of-way to a cyclist on a bicycle path or in a bike lane.
- Motorists may not stop, park or drive on a designated bicycle path or lane unless they are entering or leaving an alley or driveway, performing official duties, directed by a police officer, or an emergency situation exists.
- A cyclist is required to ride on the right side of the roadway.
- Cyclists ride in a traffic lane, staying to the far right as practicable unless preparing to turn or overtake another vehicle.
- Cyclists must obey all traffic signs and signals and use hand signals to let others know what they plan to do.
- Inexperienced riders, especially children, require special courtesy and care. They may not always follow traffic rules. Be especially careful around these riders and expect the unexpected.
- Obey the law.
- Wear a helmet.
- Wear brightly colored clothing.
- Keep bikes in good repair.
Cyclists Should Not:
- Ride on the wrong side of the road.
- Wear a headset when riding.
- Ride at night without required lights and reflectors.
Bicycles Ridden at Night Must Have:
- A white lamp in the front visible from at least 500 feet away.
- A red tail reflector visible in a vehicle's low beams from 300 feet away.
- Reflective material on the sides of the bike visible in low beams from at least 600 feet away or a lamp visible from both sides from 500 feet away.
Visit Bicycle Nevada for more information.
Cell Phones and Texting
Texting, accessing the internet and hand-held cell phone use while driving are illegal in Nevada. (NRS 484B.165)
The fines are $50 for the first offense in seven years, $100 for the second and $250 for the third and subsequent offenses. Fines are subject to doubling if the offense occurs in a work zone. Courts may assess additional administrative fees.
The first offense is not treated as a moving violation. A second or subsequent offense carries 4 demerit points.
You can talk using a hands-free headset and, while making voice calls, touch the phone to “activate, deactivate or initiate a feature or function on the device.”
Other exceptions include:
- Any person reporting a medical emergency, a safety hazard or criminal activity.
- Drivers using a voice-operated navigation system affixed to the vehicle or those riding in autonomous vehicles.
- Drivers using citizen band or other two-way radios that require a license and have a separate, hand-held microphone.
- Law enforcement officers, firefighters or emergency medical personnel acting within the scope of their employment.
- Utility workers responding to an outage or emergency and using devices provided by the company.
- Amateur radio operators providing communications services during an emergency or disaster.
Driving Under the Influence
Failure to submit to a breath, blood or urine test as directed by a police officer results in a driver's license revocation of at least one year. A blood sample can be drawn involuntarily if the officer obtains a warrant or court order.
- Legal Limits .08 percent blood alcohol level or any detectable amount of a controlled substance. (.02 if under 21, .04 in commercial driving)
- Driver's license revoked for at least 185 days
- Vehicle may be impounded
These are administrative penalties which are taken immediately. Courts impose additional criminal penalties upon conviction.
All DUI Alcohol suspects may install ignition interlock devices as a condition of receiving a restricted driver's license. Courts may order interlock devices as part of sentencing. (2021 Assembly Bill 427 | NRS Chapter 484C | DMV Quick Tip)
Kids and Pets
Never leave a child age 7 or younger unattended in a vehicle if the conditions present a significant risk to the health and safety of that child unless the child is being supervised by, and within sight of, a person at least 12 years old. (NRS 202.485)
It is illegal to leave a dog or cat unattended in a vehicle during periods of extreme heat or cold. Law enforcement, firefighters and other officials may use reasonable force to rescue the animal. (NRS 202.487)
Passengers under 18 may not ride in the back of a pickup or flatbed truck. This does not apply, however, to farming and ranching activity, parades or to camper shells or slide-in campers. (NRS 484B.160)
Fender bender? Move to the shoulder. If there is damage only to a vehicle or other property (no injuries), your vehicle is obstructing traffic and the vehicle can be moved safely, move the vehicle to a location that does not obstruct traffic and then return to the scene.
See NRS Chapter 484E for more about your duties following a crash. All crashes which involve injuries or damages of $750 or more must be reported to the DMV. If a police officer does not investigate the incident, all of the involved parties must file reports on DMV Form SR-1 within 10 days.
Emergency Vehicles & Traffic Incidents
Drivers in Nevada have certain duties when approaching a stopped emergency vehicle making use of flashing lights or any type of incident that disrupts traffic, including stalled vehicles.
In the absence of direction by a peace officer, the driver of a vehicle approaching a stopped emergency vehicle or traffic incident must:
- Decrease the vehicle speed to a speed that is reasonable and proper and less than the posted speed limit.
- Proceed with caution.
- Be prepared to stop; and
- If possible, drive in a lane that is not adjacent to the lane in which the emergency vehicle is stopped unless the roadway, traffic, weather or other conditions make doing so unsafe or impossible.
These apply to all types of emergency vehicles including tow trucks, vehicles from the Nevada Department of Transportation displaying flashing amber lights, vehicles displaying non-flashing blue lights, stalled vehicles and vehicles under repair. (NRS 484B.607)
Slow-Moving Vehicles on Highways
Drivers on controlled-access highways, who are driving less than the posted speed limit, must not drive in the far left lane if being overtaken by a faster vehicle. This law does not apply within the geographical limits or a city or town. (NRS 484B.208)
Moped operators have the same rights and responsibilities as other drivers. However, moped operators
have additional responsibilities based on the limitations of their vehicle. Moped operators must remain
in the extreme right-hand lane of any road unless:
- There is only a single lane of traffic in the direction of travel of the moped
- Preparing to make a left turn (turn must be made within one-quarter mile from entering lane)
- When driving in the extreme right-hand lane would not be safe; or
- As directed by a police officer
Moped riders must have a driver's license (any class), register their vehicle and wear a helmet! See Mopeds.
Public Education Campaigns
Right on Red
You are allowed to turn right on a red light after coming to a full stop, unless otherwise posted. You must be in the extreme right-hand lane and yield to pedestrians and all traffic moving through the intersection. (NRS 484B.307 8(c))
Drivers are required to stop for school buses when students are boarding and departing and when bus is displaying its flashing red lights. On divided highways with a median or other physical barrier, traffic moving in the opposite direction does not have to stop. On all other roads, traffic in both directions must stop. (NRS 484B.353)
Seat Belts and Child Safety Seats
Front and rear seat occupants of almost all passenger vehicles must wear safety belts or ride in an approved child restraint system. Vehicles 1968 and newer must be equipped with lap belts. Vehicles 1970 and newer must be equipped with lap belts and shoulder belts for the front seats.
(NRS 484D.495 and 484B.157)
Children less than 6 years old and less than 57 inches (4 feet 9 inches) tall must ride in an approved child restraint system. Children under 2 must ride in a rear-facing child safety seat in the back seat of the vehicle. The safety seat may be placed in the front if the air bag is deactivated and there is no back seat, all back seats are in use by children under 2 or the child has special health needs outlined in a physician note. (2021 Assembly Bill 118, NRS 484B.157)
The previous law was children under age 6 and less than 60 pounds must ride in a child
restraint system. Weight is no longer a factor.
Visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for guidance on choosing, installing and using the right seat. See the DMV Quick Tip brochures in English and Spanish for Nevada laws. NHTSA's Parents Central has safety tips on a wide range of topics.
Four Steps for Kids!
Teen Driving Restrictions
See Nevada Teen Driving and the DMV Quick Tip.
Drivers under 18 cannot transport any passenger under the age of 18, except for immediate family members, for the first six months after licensing.
Drivers under 18 may not drive between the hours of 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. unless they are traveling to or from a scheduled event such as work or a school event. This curfew remains in effect until age 18.
U-turns are generally allowed if they can be completed safely. In business areas, you must be at an intersection or on a divided highway where an appropriate opening exists. U-turns are not allowed where prohibited by a traffic sign or signal, or if there is less than 500 feet visibility in both directions. (NRS 484B.403)
What to do when stopped by law enforcement
Law enforcement officers are responsible for conducting traffic stops when they have reasonable suspicion of a traffic violation or a criminal violation. Being stopped by an officer can be a stressful experience for the driver, passengers and the officer, too. Knowing what to do during the stop will help ensure your safety and the safety of others.
Here's some tips on what to do when you're pulled over:
New Traffic Laws
Here are summaries of the new traffic laws passed by the 2021 Nevada Legislature with links to the legislation and effective dates. Please read the legislation or seek legal advice for details.
Child Restraint Systems
See Seat Belts and Child Safety Seats above for new laws on child safety.
(AB 118 - effective 1/1/22)
You may drive a recently-purchased vehicle without a movement permit for three days after the date of purchase if you carry, in the vehicle, proof of ownership or proof of purchase and proof of liability insurance.
Out-of-state "Drive-Away" permits issued to motorists leaving Nevada are now valid for 30 days, up from 15.
(SB 60, Sec. 20 and 19.5 - effective 7/1/21)
Residential living complexes may not tow a vehicle solely for having an expired registration. Vehicles connected to a tow car for registration violations must be released if the owner or owner's agent can show a valid registration certificate.
(AB 301 - effective 10/1/21)
Vehicle owners who believe their vehicle was improperly towed or immobilized may seek relief by filing a complaint with the appropriate Justice Court. The complaint must be made within 21 days and the vehicle must be in storage at the tow yard or immobilized. The court must hold a hearing within seven days.
(AB 32 - effective 10/1/21)
Driving Under the Influence
Assembly Bill 427 makes significant changes to Nevada's Ignition Interlock and 24/7 Monitoring programs. Here are some highlights:
- The minimum driver's license revocation period for a failed breath, blood or urine test has been raised from 90 to 185 days. (Sec. 14)
- Courts must order drivers to install an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) as a condition of reinstating their driver's license following any DUI conviction. Credit is given if the IID was installed prior to conviction. (Sec. 28)
- Driving a vehicle without an IID when required or tampering with an IID results in a three-year driver's license revocation for the first offense and five years for the second or subsequent offense in addition to the criminal penalties. (Sec. 5)
- DMV may suspend a driver's license without a preliminary hearing for IID violations. (Sec. 6)
- The driver's license seizure and revocation for failure to submit to a preliminary breath test has been removed. (Sec.13 and 15)
There are many more provisions of this bill that affect court proceedings, sentencing and records. Please read the bill carefully or seek legal advice.
(AB 427 - effective 6/4/21)
The legal limits for marijuana metabolite no longer apply in misdemeanor DUI cases involving a non-commercial driver. The limits remain in place in felony cases or those involving a commercial driver. All drivers are still subject to arrest for driving under the influence of a controlled substance.
(AB 400 - effective 7/1/21)
Driver's License Suspensions
Courts will no longer order a driver's license suspension for a delinquent fine, administrative assessment, fee or restitution.
Any such suspension in effect prior to October 1, 2021, has been cleared and the license reinstated.
The reinstatement does not apply to a license suspension or revocation ordered for reasons other than delinquent fines or fees. (SB 219 - effective 10/1/21)
Traffic Citations and Penalties
Assembly Bill 116 decriminalizes most misdemeanor traffic offenses effective January 1, 2023. It applies to minor traffic offenses such as speeding, cell phone use and seat belt violations. Serious offenses such as DUI remain criminal offenses.
AB 116 will make only minor changes in law enforcement procedures during a traffic stop. Officers may continue to detain, search and arrest drivers as appropriate under existing laws. However, courts will then treat the citation as a civil infraction rather than a criminal offense.
Under current law, a cited driver is subject to a fine and possible jail time if convicted. A driver who fails to appear in court or pay a fine is automatically subject to a bench warrant, possible arrest and a driver's license suspension.
Under the new laws, the driver is subject only to a civil penalty of $500 maximum plus administrative assessments and fees if the court finds the driver committed the infraction. Drivers have up to 90 days to respond to the citation. Delinquent payments may be collected by the local city or county for up to 10 years. Courts may order a driver's license suspension for delinquent payments.
All outstanding bench warrants for decriminalized offenses will be canceled effective 1/1/23.
What won't change
Cited drivers may dispute the citation in the court of jurisdiction. Courts may reduce penalties, order drivers to attend traffic school and/or require community service in lieu of a monetary assessment. Courts will notify the DMV when a driver is determined to have committed a civil infraction. The infraction will appear on the driver history record. The DMV point system is unchanged. Multiple civil infractions can lead to a driver's license suspension.
AB 116 lists a number of traffic offenses that will remain criminal misdemeanors. Here is a partial list: driving under the influence and open container violations, driving without a valid license, leaving the scene of a crash, failure to stop and render aid, failure to stop for an emergency vehicle, violations involving flaggers, tampering with a traffic control device or sign and any traffic offense committed while the driver is under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance.
Please refer to the text of AB 116 for details of these new laws. Sections 24 to 36.7 outline the procedures that law enforcement and courts will follow.
(AB 116 - effective 1/1/23)
Crossing a street illegally has been decriminalized. Offenders now face a civil penalty of not more than $100. Courts must cancel any bench warrant issued for failure to appear related to these violations.
(AB 403 - effective 7/1/21)
Required initial Appearances
A requirement that requires persons charged with misdemeanors be taken before a magistrate if the identity of the person cannot be verified or the peace officer believes the person will disregard a written promise to appear in court has been removed. Officers must issue a citation instead unless the officer believes the offense will continue or another person or property is in imminent danger. Officers may also detain repeat offenders, DUI suspects, offenders who violate laws regarding traffic crashes and those suspected of crimes of violence. (AB 440 - effective 10/1/21)
Authorizes "Neighborhood Occupantless Vehicles," which are fully autonomous vehicles used primarily for delivery of food and similar goods. These are exempt from equipment requirements such as rear-view mirrors and windshield wipers. They are classed as low-speed vehicles that must have four wheels, weigh less than 3,000 pounds and operate at a maximum of 25 miles per hour. (AB 440 - effective 10/1/21)
Electric bicycles are recognized as bicycles and allowed to travel anywhere other bikes are allowed. Electric bicycles will be separated into three classes based on power and speed in accordance with federal law. See People for Bikes.
(SB 383 - effective 10/1/21)
When passing a bicycle on a two-lane highway, motorists are allowed to cross to the left of the center of the highway to maintain a safe distance of at least three feet if it is safe to do so. This applies even in no-passing zones.
Bicyclists are not required to ride as near to the right side of the road as practicable if there are obstructions in the roadway or if the lane is too narrow for a bicycle and a vehicle to travel side-by-side. (SB 285 - effective 10/1/21)
Here are summaries of the new traffic laws passed by the 2019 Nevada Legislature with links to the legislation and effective dates. Please read the legislation for details. .
Moped riders must wear helmets beginning October 1, 2019.
The new law also applies to trimobiles with handlebars and a saddle seat. Helmet use is not required in three-wheeled vehicles with an enclosed cab. (SB 408 Sections 6-9 - effective 10/1/2019)
Trick driving displays - diverting or slowing traffic on a public highway to enable stunts or having stunts filmed - is considered reckless driving and is a gross misdemeanor.
Penalties for those who participate in, or organize, trick driving include a minimum fine of $1,000, minimum community service of 100 hours, possible jail time, driver's license suspension of six months to two years and impoundment of an offender's vehicle used in the offense for up to 30 days. (AB 201 - effective 10/1/2019)
Reckless Driving and Vehicular Manslaughter on Private Property
With the exception of Driving Under the Influence, most traffic laws apply only if the vehicle is driven on a public street. The law now allows prosecution of reckless driving and vehicular manslaughter offenses on "premises to which the public has access" such as parking lots, parking garages and roads within gated communities, apartment complexes, etc. (AB 403 - effective 10/1/2019)
The maximum fine for speeding is capped at $20 for each mile per hour above the speed limit or proper rate of speed. Courts may reduce a speeding citation to a non-moving violation if the offender pays all fees and fines prior to his or her first court date. It is now specifically illegal to drive at a rate of speed that results in the injury of another person or of any property. (AB 434 Section 28 - effective 10/1/2019)
Motorists approaching any sort of traffic incident are required to slow to less than the posted speed limit, move to a non-adjacent lane and be prepared to stop. This law now applies specifically when approaching vehicles displaying non-flashing blue lights in the back. Tow trucks and service vehicles under contract with NDOT are now allowed to display non-flashing blue lights. (SB 395 - effective 10/1/2019)
Parking at Electric Charging Stations
It is illegal to park at an electric vehicle charging station unless the vehicle is being charged. The space must be marked appropriately and a sign must state "Minimum fine of $100 for use by others." (SB 428 - effective 10/1/2019)
Traffic Citations and Disposition
The 2019 Legislature enacted major changes in the way traffic citations are issued and processed in the courts. The changes are contained within four bills:
All changes were effective October 1, 2019. The following is a brief summary of the most important changes. Refer to the bill text for details.
These new laws apply only to minor traffic offenses. They do not apply to DUI cases, reckless driving, vehicular manslaughter or any felony traffic offense.
Citation Issuance and Plea
Law enforcement officers may ask for your mobile phone number and/or email address to help the court contact you regarding the offense. This is entirely voluntary. (AB 110)
The citation must clearly list, at the top, the purpose of the citation, the actions that must be taken and the date, time and location of the required court appearance. (AB 110)
Courts may establish a system to allow offenders to enter a plea and state their defense by mail, email or over the internet. (AB 110)
A motorist who physically receives a citation is considered to have given his or her written promise to appear in court. A signature is not necessary. (SB 486)
Failure to Appear or Pay Fines
Under existing law, courts may issue a driver's license suspension and an arrest warrant for defendants who do not appear in court or who fail to pay fines, administrative assessments, fees or restitution.
Under the new laws, the court must first find the defendant is willfully avoiding payment or, if the defendant is indigent, he or she has been offered community service and has failed to accept or perform it before issuing a driver's license suspension. (AB 416 Section 2)
Courts must offer community service to defendants prior to issuing an arrest warrant. (AB 434 Section 5.8)
Courts may order jail time for offenders. However, the Legislature intends that incarceration for minor traffic offenses is "disfavored" unless the offender would substantially jeopardize public safety. (AB 416 Section 2 and AB 434 Sections 1.7, 2 and 5.1)
Prosecutors are no longer allowed to collect delinquent fines. Cities and counties may contract with collection agencies but may not report the debt to credit reporting agencies. Debts are collectible after eight years. (AB 416 Section 2)
Conviction of a minor traffic offense is not considered to be a criminal conviction for the purposes of employment, professional licensing or any educational opportunity. (AB 434 Section 5.5)
Courts may allow defendants to pay additional fees in lieu of taking a traffic safety course for the purpose of reducing demerit points. 25 percent of the revenue helps fund the state Office of Court Administrator and 75 percent must be used for specialty court programs or upgrades to court information technology. (AB 434 Section 8)
Local governments may authorize and set regulations for scooter-share services. Scooters must travel no faster than 20 mph, weigh less than 100 pounds and follow the traffic laws pertaining to bicycles. Scooters may not be rented to anyone under 16. (AB 485 - effective 6/3/2019)
Mobile Carrying Devices
Semi-autonomous vehicles designed to transport personal property may be operated on public sidewalks if they are actively monitored by an operator no more than 25 feet away. The device must travel no faster then 12.5 mph, weigh less than 90 pounds and follow the traffic laws pertaining to pedestrians. Local governments may regulate the time, place and manner of operation but may not ban devices on sidewalks that are at least 36 inches wide (SB 408 Sections 2 and 11 - effective 10/1/2019)
The DMV may adopt regulations, if necessary, authorizing the operation and testing of "alternative electronic transportation system vehicles" such as mobile carrying devices, remote-controlled vehicles and other types of technology that do not fall under the definition of autonomous vehicles. (AB 23 - effective 5/23/19)
Tow companies may tow a vehicle from a residential complex immediately if a notice was previously posted on a vehicle for the same or similar reason or if it was posted three or more times for any reason during the immediately preceding six months. Previously, tow companies were not able to tow a vehicle until 48 hours after affixing such a notice. (SB 212 - effective 7/1/2019)
Public Lands Access
It is illegal to prevent or obstruct free passage or transit to public lands or highways or to misrepresent the right to public access. Offenses are a public nuisance and subject to civil penalties of $500-$5,000. (SB 316 - effective 7/1/19)
Equipment on Train Tracks
On-track equipment was added to the law requiring motorists to stop for trains at railroad crossings. (AB 337 - effective 10/1/2019)