Nevada governor approves tougher vehicular manslaughter laws

| 5/10/2005

A new law in Nevada will have inattentive drivers facing much stiffer penalties than they would have in the past.

Gov. Kenny Guinn signed into law AB295, which creates a misdemeanor charge for vehicular manslaughter. The charge carries with it a fine of up to $1,000, and the person could also face up to six months in jail. Penalties will also be doubled if the death takes place in a work zone.

Previously, a driver who injured or killed someone while driving inattentively – such as while talking on the phone or changing stations on the radio – could only be issued a citation, unless criminal negligence, such as drunken driving, could be proven.

A similar proposal has made its way to the state assembly three times before, but never gained enough momentum to pass. However, several recent incidents across the state – including the death of four people waiting at a bus stop, when a car veered off the road and hit them.

“The families who lose loved ones to inattentive drivers deserve the knowledge that Nevada law acknowledges their loss,” Guinn told the Nevada Appeal. “The state of Nevada will be casting a much more vigilant eye on this crime.”

The new law will take effect on Oct. 1.