Nevada is a state with a tough record as far as fatal traffic accidents, and it leaves some parents worried about their teens starting to drive in the state. Luckily, in recent years the state has been working on making the roadways safer, and they do have a graduated license program.
Nevada Roadway Safety May Be Lacking
In 2018, fatal crashes in Nevada hit a 10-year high according to a report cited by the Las Vegas Review-Journal, making it the deadliest year for motorists in a decade.
In 2018, there were 331 roadway fatalities in the state, which was up 6.4% over the 311 deaths in 2017.
This year, there was a report from the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety Group, and they determined based on their findings that Nevada is lacking what they call “essential” traffic laws. Nevada ranked close to the bottom of the list as far as the implementation of crucial roadway laws.
The group looks at 16 traffic safety laws that they say are foundational. These fall into five general categories which are occupant protection, child passenger safety, teen driving, impaired driving, and distracted driving.
States are then rated based on whether or not they have a specific law in place or other measures to enforce safety on roadways.
Some of the areas where Nevada lost points included the fact that they didn’t have laws in place for booster seats and their lack of supervised driving for beginners as well as stringent night-time driving restrictions for young drivers.
However, recently Nevada officials at the Department of Transportation said they are introducing three new initiatives that they hope will improve roadway safety. These include warning signals being placed ahead of traffic signals and additional warning signs in certain locations.
So what about teens and driving in Nevada? There is a graduated licensing system, which is something in place in most states around the country.
Some of the benefits of a graduated licensing system in general include:
- They save lives—in fact, the implementation of these programs is estimated to save 200 high school students from dying in accidents every year in the U.S.
- There was one study showing a 19% drop in injury accidents
- These policies can help keep insurance premiums down
Nevada Graduated Licensing Requirements
When you are under the age of 18, if you live in Nevada, you have to show that you meet the minimum state school attendance requirements. You have to show this if you’re applying for an instruction permit, a driver’s license or a driver authorization card.
To show this, students have to show what’s called a Certification of Attendance, which is DMV form 301. If a student’s license or permit is suspended because they’ve missed too much school, they have to submit a new DMV 301 before their permit or license can be reinstated.
When a student attends high school, their principal, or another official from their school has to complete the first section of the form. Some students may be excused because of disability or home school and in this case, a parent or guardian has to fill out Section 1.
Almost all drivers under the age of 18 in Nevada have to do a driver education course, and enrollment opens when a student turns 15.
There are three options here. These include:
- You can take a classroom course and then do 50 hours of time behind the wheel
- Do an online course and get 50 hours of time behind the wheel
- Complete 100 hours of driving experience but only if there’s not a class available within 30 miles of where you live, and you don’t have internet access
When you’re 15 ½, you can apply for a permit. You have to show proof of residency and identity and pass a vision and written test.
With the learner’s permit, a teen has to drive for at least 50 hours with a licensed driver who’s 21 and older. Ten of those hours have to be at night, and a written log has to be maintained.
Once a teenager in Nevada turns 16, and they’ve had their permit for at least six months with no violations, they can apply for what’s called a minor license. This requires passing a driving test and submitting a Beginner Driver Experience log.
In Nevada, a teen can drive alone with a minor license, but they can’t transport anyone under the age of 18 for the first six months unless it’s a family member. They also can’t drive between the hours of 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. unless there is an event related to school or work and a minor may have to show proof of such an event.
Along with the statewide driving curfew, there are local curfews as well. For example, teens can’t be on the Las Vegas strip after 9 p.m. without an adult, whether they’re driving or not. The same is true in the downtown Reno Gaming District.
When a teen turns 18 in Nevada, they become eligible for a full, unrestricted license. That eligibility means they can’t have any outstanding restrictions from the court or DMV.
As far as other restrictions, in Nevada, there is a 0.02 blood alcohol limit for drivers under 21 and drivers can be arrested for any detectable amount of a prohibited or controlled substance in their system.
If you are a new resident and you move to Nevada, you have to do drivers’ education even if you already have a restricted or graduated license or an out-of-state permit. You also have to complete the Beginning Driver Experience log.
While Nevada does have some graduated licensing restrictions, they’re actually not as strict as they are in some states. With the high number of roadway fatalities, it may be up to parents of new drivers to enforce their own rules that go beyond the rules of the state to keep their child safe.