Drivers in Nevada have the most incentive to utilize their headlights when on the roads of Las Vegas and southern Nevada. By not using them when it is dark, the odds of an accident increase quite a bit.
When we say accident, we do not always mean a car crash with another automobile. By not using headlamps during the night or times of dusk there are many things that may not be visible until it is far too late to react.
Common Accidents You May Encounter by Not Using Headlights
Objects / Debris in the Road
Foreign objects in or near the roadway can be quite hazardous not only to you the driver but for others who have to react to your spontaneous decision-making. Objects in the roadway can consist of anything from orange cones, trash, or someone else’s load that fell off their truck.
When headlights are not being used, these types of hazards can be difficult to see and identify until you are right on them. By the time you see what is going on, it might be too late for you to react and you may hit it. Or perhaps you do see it at the last minute and swerve to miss it but that action causes an issue for drivers in the other lanes or may even result in a collision.
It is a tragedy anytime a pedestrian is hit but is even magnified when it is due to someone not using their headlights. Many crosswalks in the Las Vegas Valley are clearly marked for pedestrians but are not so obvious for drivers.
In some instances, there are flashing lights when a pedestrian enters the walkway but that scenario is usually a rare exception. The norm for crosswalks in Las Vegas is to simply have the white striping on the street so drivers need to always be aware of their surroundings.
There are a couple of ways to mitigate pedestrians being hit and one of them is to simply slow down with the other being to utilize your headlights when appropriate.
There is no reason to not use your headlights at night or when the sun gets behind the Spring Mountains on the west side of Las Vegas. As soon as the sun starts setting, the Vegas Valley darkens and even though visibility is pretty good it just does not hurt to have some extra lighting.
If you are given a traffic ticket for failing to use your headlamps then you should request help. Having legal assistance will be a net positive for you because dealing with the legal system in Nevada can be very time-consuming and tedious.
It is a very foreign thing for most citizens to have to navigate and can bring on a major headache when having to call different phone numbers, wait in line, and of course drive to and attend court.
By calling Ticket Busters, you will be assigned a legal expert that can assist you throughout this entire process. In many cases, our team will be able to do most of the work on your behalf.
What the Law Says About the Use of Headlights or Headlamps
Although it is obvious to use your headlights so you can see better, there is a Nevada Revised Statute that maps out all of the details as to when they are required. It is Nevada Revised Statute NRS 484D.100 and is titled “When Lighted Lamps are Required”. It is a shorter NRS than many others and consists of two points.
The first one states that headlamps are required and when they need to be turned on:
1. Every vehicle upon a highway of this State, subject to exceptions with respect to parked vehicles as stated, inclusive, of NRS, must display lighted lamps and illuminating devices as respectively required in this chapter for different classes of vehicles:
(a) At any time from one-half hour after sunset to one-half hour before sunrise;
So here we have specifics regarding when a driver in Nevada needs to have their headlights turned on. Notice that the NRS did not provide exact times. It mentioned “sunrise” and “sunset” because those events change throughout the year. In the summertime in southern Nevada, the sun may be out well past 8pm whereas the wintertime things seem to start getting dark just after 4pm.
Although there are almanacs and other resources that state what the sunrise and sunset are on each particular calendar day, it can be a bit subjective for both the one operating the vehicle and for the law enforcement officer.
The second section of this point also describes when the headlights must be turned on:
(b) At any other time when, because of insufficient light or unfavorable atmospheric conditions, persons and vehicles on the highway are not clearly discernible at a distance of 1,000 feet ahead;
As stated earlier, most drivers do not need this directive from Carson City. They know they need to have their lights on when it is dark.
Even if one of the aforementioned examples occurred of a lone driver hitting some type of object there may not be a traffic ticket issued.
If a driver hit some debris on the roadway due to poor lighting, damaged their car but drove away because no other parties were involved then that is an issue for the driver. They then have to get their car repaired and may or may not want to declare the incident to their insurance company. It should appear obvious that no one wants that situation so even though there is a specific NRS, drivers know when their headlamps are needed.
Warning Signs Present
The last part of this section is:
(c) When directed by an official traffic control device.
In some cases, there may be a sign (manual or electronic) that was installed by the Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT) or a local law enforcement agency that directs drivers to utilize their headlights. In these cases, even if the time is not thirty minutes from sunrise or sunset or if visibility is good, you still need to adhere to the directive on the sign and put your headlamps on.
Requirement for Lights and Signaling Devices
The second point to NRS 484D.100 discusses the lighting that must be located on a vehicle in Nevada.
2. Every vehicle upon a highway must be equipped with stop lights, turn signals and other signaling devices to be lighted in the manner prescribed for the use of such devices.
If issued a ticket, you normally have the direct option to simply pay the fine and move on with other various penalties (if applicable). But by utilizing the legal team at Ticket Busters, they can many times get your citation reduced which may also include a decrease in fines and penalties.
At the beginning of our relationship, we will come up with a strategy to determine all of the specific details of what occurred just prior to you being pulled over by the police.
Common Defenses to Not Using Headlights
An Emergency Situation
When an emergency situation is going on, it may be necessary to voluntarily ignore certain traffic laws. One example of when this could occur would be if your headlights are damaged after some kind of accident that you need to flee.
An instance could be that you were just in a collision where your headlamps were destroyed but need to get yourself or someone else to a nearby hospital. In that type of emergency situation, the district attorney or prosecutor may have a feeling of understanding for your intentional behavior.
Another reason for intentionally failing to use headlights is if you are trying to escape a dangerous situation in progress. Even law enforcement at times will drive without their headlights if they are approaching a burglary in progress.
You may need to do the same thing if you are trying to flee a situation like that.
Sometimes law enforcement makes a mistake and will identify the wrong driver in certain circumstances. This is where the Ticket Busters team will investigate and try to obtain camera footage from the time of the ticket and just before so that they can piece together the whole situation.
It may also be determined from eyewitness accounts or from surveillance video that you were not within the stated time constraints (ie: 30 minutes after sunset) when you were pulled over for the failure to use headlights. This is where having a legal team behind you will make your life easier.
Penalties for Failing to Use Headlights
If you are charged and convicted of failing to use your headlights when necessary you can expect some penalties and fines. The Civil Penalty for violating this NRS is $205 in the city of Las Vegas (although it may be lower in other jurisdictions of southern Nevada).
You will also most likely earn two demerit points on your license. Earning twelve demerit points or more will cause you to lose your driver’s license.
The Ticket Busters team will work to get your citation reduced to a non-moving violation. If needed we will work out a plea deal that will lessen your fines and demerit points. In some cases, we can even get the ticket dropped completely.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the consequences of not using headlights when required?
If you are issued a ticket and convicted, you may face fines of up to $205 and two demerit points on your license. The Ticket Busters team can work to get your citation reduced or even dropped completely.
Are there any exceptions to the rule of using headlights?
Yes, there are exceptions. In cases of emergency or if you are trying to flee a dangerous situation in progress, it may be necessary to ignore certain traffic laws such as not using headlights.
What is the best way to handle a ticket for not using headlights when required?
The best way to handle a ticket for not using headlights when required is to consult with the legal team at Ticket Busters. We will work hard to get your citation reduced or even dropped and to lessen any fines or penalties you may be facing.
I have excellent vision and can see clearly, do I need to turn on my headlights when it’s dark?
Yes, you must use your headlights when it is dark. This law applies to all drivers regardless of their vision or ability to see clearly. Failing to do so can result in a citation and fines/demerit points on your license.