Most people know that when driving on the streets of Las Vegas, Henderson, and other locales in southern Nevada that the driver on the left typically has the right of way.
Many will also be aware that when making a left-hand turn across oncoming traffic, those drivers heading your direction get the right of way.
Merging onto a highway, the cars already on the road have the right of way.
There are constant examples and scenarios but what about when someone who is handicapped, specifically blind, is in or near an intersection? Hopefully, anyone reading this article would let the blind person go along their way unimpeded for the sake of common courtesy.
For anyone though, they are supposed to do that because there actually is a law in Nevada that states that exact thing. Not all of the Rules of the Road in Nevada Revised Statutes pertain to driving circumstances as some involve pedestrians. This specific statute, NRS 484B.290 discusses those who are blind and how others need to react when they interact with each other.
What Nevada Law Says About Right of Way for People Who Are Blind
The name of NRS 484B.290 is “Right-of-way of person who is blind; penalty”. The verbiage within it explains the definition of how to identify someone visually impaired and how a driver must react.
Although the first part of the statute is full of details it only consists of one paragraph. Here we will break it down into two parts; the first half reads:
A person who is blind and who is on foot and using a service animal or carrying a cane or walking stick white in color, or white tipped with red, has the right-of-way when entering or when on a highway, street, or road of this State.
All laws must be detailed and not leave any “gray” areas, this one is no different. Although, only one sentence in length, it does a great job of describing what a Nevada driver needs to observe to properly identify the subject.
If a blind person is in a car or other type of vehicle, then this law does not need to be adhered to.
As the NRS reads, the blind person must be a pedestrian.
Another tipoff per the statute is if the pedestrian has a service dog. Anymore a “service” animal does not mean too much because many people abuse that rule and get a “service” title for their animal even if that is not true.
It is a shame that people do that because it waters down the service rules for the people that truly need it. In any case, if you are driving and see someone with an animal being used as “service” then follow this law. Not all blind people use a service animal as some just use a walking stick.
The method in which they use these sticks is a giveaway as to whether or not they are actually blind or simply walking with a stick. A walking stick used for blind people is very peculiar as they have a specific style and are easy to identify. As this NRS describes, the sticks are white and red.
Additional Guidance for Drivers
The second and last sentence of this NRS gives instructions to the driver when one comes across a blind person at an intersection or road:
Any driver of a vehicle who approaches or encounters such a person shall yield the right-of-way, come to a full stop, if necessary, and take precautions before proceeding to avoid an accident or injury to the person.
As stated earlier, hopefully, everyone just gives the right of way to any pedestrian when they are driving let alone a pedestrian who is blind.
The statute says that you better do that in any case. If not, you will be in violation of the NRS and that will earn you a traffic ticket from law enforcement.
The statute mentions coming to a full stop but it does not require you to do so. The statute uses the words “if necessary” so you do not have to come to that complete stop but you must provide the right of way to the blind person.
It is always important to understand and be aware of the nuances of writing within the law. If you are ever ticketed for violating this statute then reach out to Ticket Busters for help. The team located in our downtown Las Vegas office can work on your case and as you have read this statute has some ambiguity to it.
This allows for someone who was ticketed to have a fighting chance to get their ticket reduced or possibly thrown out. Throw some legal representation into the mix for you and there is an even better chance for that outcome. Ticket Busters works for you and will do everything possible to fight your case and win.
Penalty for Not Yielding Right of Way to Visually Impaired People
The second section of this Nevada Revised Statute dictates what the penalty is if someone is caught violating it. There is quite a range to the punishment as it states:
2. Any person who violates subsection 1 shall be punished by imprisonment in the county jail for not more than 6 months or by a fine of not less than $100 nor more than $500, or by both fine and imprisonment.
Of course, if you actually hit a blind pedestrian then the penalties will be much more significant.
Keep in mind that these punishments and penalties only pertain to a driver not giving the right of way to a blind person.
As the statute states, the fines can range but if you are ticketed then you can expect to pay at least $100 dollars. If your driving record is clean and your violation was not extremely egregious then you most likely would not have to serve any jail time but as the law reads, you could be subjected to incarceration of up to 6 months.
The incarceration would not be in a state prison but would occur at the county jail in which you were ticketed and charged.
If caught in Las Vegas then that would mean you would be serving time at the Clark County Detention Center (CCDC) which is located in Downtown Las Vegas, pretty much a caddy corner to the Golden Nugget Casino. The detention center is about a block away from the backside of the hotel & casino (the front of the establishment faces the Fremont Street Experience).
Just a couple of minutes away from the CCDC is the office of Ticket Busters. We are within walking distance if you need to get to us but can also be easily reached by phone or email. Let us know if you need our help as soon as possible. We will provide a free consultation meeting to review your case and what exactly you were charged with.
From there, our legal team will draw up a strategy that will make your life much easier because you will not have to navigate the legal system. We will do that task on your behalf.
As a driver in Nevada, trying to follow all Rules of the Road including this one, it might be helpful to really understand how a blind pedestrian is able to cross an intersection that includes a traffic signal. Those that are blind or have low vision will cross an intersection with the use of their walking cane or service dog.
First, they will locate where exactly the street is. Cues that the pedestrian uses are a change in sidewalk slope, finding where the curb is located and always using their other senses, namely hearing.
Next, they must figure out what street they are on. If available. they can ask other people who are around but that isn’t always possible.
Typically, they will have a mental map in their head to know where they are. Counting blocks is also a technique that they use. Most importantly they must identify what traffic controls are located at the intersection.
Listening and observing traffic patterns can help with this. Following sidewalks and identifying light poles is also helpful as there are often push buttons located on them for use by pedestrians. Once that is completed, they then need to actually cross the street.
Understanding the geometry of the street intersection is very helpful and knowing if it is signalized can make things much safer. Of course, there is much more to this for the person who is actually trying to cross a busy street without the ability to see but we wanted to give you an idea of what they are up against to stress the importance of this Nevada law.
Pedestrians with visual impairments have quite a challenge in life and that is especially true when walking along, near, and crossing roadways.
That is why NRS 484B.290 is so important and was created by lawmakers out of Carson City. It really is imperative that you follow all Nevada Revised Statutes but this is especially true in this case.
The reaction time for someone who cannot see will be slower than for the person who does have that ability so you, the Nevada driver have an extra responsibility to be alert and to always give the right of way to a blind pedestrian.
Frequently Asked Questions
What happens if I don’t give the right of way to a blind pedestrian?
You will be charged with a misdemeanor and could face jail time of up to 6 months as well as other monetary fines. The incarceration would occur at the county jail in which you were ticketed and charged.
What should I do if I am ticketed for not yielding to a blind pedestrian?
Your best course of action is to obtain legal counsel from an experienced Nevada traffic lawyer. At Ticket Busters, we specialize in helping those charged with traffic violations. We are conveniently located in downtown Las Vegas and can provide the assistance you need to fight and beat your ticket. Contact us today for a free consultation to discuss your case. You don’t have to navigate the legal system alone. Let us help! We are here to make sure that your rights are fully protected and that you get the best outcome possible in your case. We are always available when you need us.