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Rex’s Law: What the Increased Reckless Driving Penalties in Nevada Mean

On July 1, 2023, SB322 goes into effect. Here is what you need to know.

SB 322 amends the reckless driving statute currently in place (NRS §484B.653), and it increases the penalties someone can face for reckless driving in two situations.

  • First, if the driver is going more than 50 mph over the speed limit.
  • Second, if the driver is driving recklessly in a school zone or pedestrian safety zone and causes bodily harm or death.

The bill is titled “Rex’s Law” in memory of Rex Patchett, a 13-year-old who was killed while riding a scooter in front of his school by a driver who was traveling over 90 mph.

What is Reckless Driving?

First, what is reckless driving?  Under Nevada law, NRS §484B.653, reckless driving means to drive in a manner that intentionally or negligently disregards the safety of others. Examples of which include, but are not limited to:

  • Driving at an excessive speed on highways or roads that people have access to;
  • Driving in a way that disregards the safety of others, such as failing to stop for someone or performing dangerous maneuvers;
  • Racing other cars on public roads or highways;
  • Performing “trick driving displays;” and
  • Driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol.

Example: Bill is driving on the highway with his buddies. One buddy looks at Bill and revs his engine. Bill then revs his engine in response. The two vehicles begin speeding up and race each other. They both exceed the speed limit by 30 mph. Bill is pulled over and charged with reckless driving.

The penalty for driving recklessly normally involves a fine or jail time. The punishments scale upward as the driver becomes a repeat offender.

This is where Rex’s law comes in.  Rex’s law increases the penalties when a reckless driver causes a death and/or is reckless in pedestrian areas and school zones.

How Does Rex’s Bill Change Reckless Driving?

Where the bill creates an impact is in mandatory jail sentences. Under the original reckless driving penalty, which still applies in most circumstances, the minimum jail sentence was one year, and the maximum was six. However, if a driver was operating a motor vehicle more than 50 miles per hour over the posted speed or the reckless driving is done in a school zone or pedestrian access zone the violation, Rex’s law increases the maximum jail time to 10 years.

Under Rex’s Law, drivers who cause death while exceeding 50 mph on any highway or street with public access, or who drive recklessly and cause a death in a school zone or pedestrian access zone will be subject to these heightened penalties.

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