‘Black Monday’ at DMV is one of its busiest days of the year

To most people, it’s Cyber Monday — one of the best days of the year to find online shopping deals.

But for the folks working at the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles, today is known as Black Monday — one their busiest times of the year.

Anyone needing to register a vehicle, get a new driver’s license or any other business at the DMV should stay home today. Eat some turkey leftovers. Shop online.

It would be better than standing in unusually long lines, DMV spokesman Kevin Malone warned.

It’s unclear when Black Monday darkened the DMV’s doorsteps. One reason may come from the fact that this is the only time of the year when the DMV is closed for four consecutive days, from Thanksgiving to Sunday.

“It’s the only time of year this happens, and it creates a pent-up demand,” Malone said.

About 6,150 people visited the DMV’s four offices across the Las Vegas Valley on Nov. 30, 2015 — the Monday following the Thanksgiving weekend, Malone said. That was up from the 5,257 people who visited the DMV offices on the Monday prior to the holiday in 2015.

But a funny thing happened in 2016. It appears people listened to the DMV’s dire “Black Monday” warning.

The DMV logged 5,867 visitors at its Las Vegas Valley offices on the Monday following Thanksgiving 2016, down from 6,390 people who visited on the Monday prior to the holiday, Malone said.

As with any time of the year, you should try to complete your DMV services online or make an appointment at dmvnv.com/dashpass.

If possible, you should probably leave that DMV trip for another day, maybe spend your time eating those tasty turkey leftovers. DMV offices will also be closed on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day, which both fall on a Monday.

Distracted driving

Robert from Las Vegas wanted to know Nevada’s law regarding the use of cellphones and other mobile gadgets while driving.

Cellphones, tablets, GPS systems and anything else transmitting a communications signal must be used hands-free with help from Bluetooth devices or cases that are mounted on the vehicle, Nevada Highway Patrol Trooper Jason Buratczuk said.

When using a mounted cellphone case, driver may only be able to touch the phone’s screen to receive or end a call, Buratczuk said. The phone must stay secured to the mount, technically making it hands-free.

When using GPS systems, motorists cannot input their destinations while driving. Remember to look up the address beforehand, or ask a passenger for help.

Violators could be convicted with a misdemeanor and cited up to $250.

Exceptions to the law are law enforcement, fire and emergency medical technicians who may be driving, but need to use their cellphones as part of their work. Drivers who are calling to report a medical emergency, safety hazard or criminal activity are also exempt.

The Nevada Highway Patrol aggressively enforces distracted driving laws through daily patrols, along with safety and enforcement campaigns year-round, Buratczuk said.

At 65 mph, a car travels 95 feet per second. That means your vehicle would have traveled the length of a football field within the 3 to 5 seconds it takes to read a text message, Buratczuk said.

“Texting and phone calls can wait,” Buratczuk said. “Nothing is worth your life.”

Road reopening soon

Scott from Las Vegas noted that Dean Martin Drive has been closed for a while now near Cactus Avenue in the southwest end of the valley. Construction signs had stated that the road would open by Oct. 30, but Scott said that the work is “nowhere near completed,” and wanted to know when Dean Martin will reopen.

Clark County spokesman Dan Kulin said that the contractor had requested an extension, and the full closure should be lifted soon. However, expect lane restrictions for another two months as crews continue to wrap up construction.

Questions and comments should be sent to roadwarrior@reviewjournal.com. Please include your phone number. Find @RJroadwarrior on Twitter.

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