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Blue Diamond finish set for June

This week readers want to know the latest news on Blue Diamond Road; about state law regarding the visibility of a license plate; an explanation of the new school speed zone signs going up around the valley; and whether the state’s Department of Motor Vehicle files are considered public records.

A reader asks: Can we get an update on the construction on Blue Diamond Road?

The contractor is closing in on the finish line.

The $52 million widening project, which includes an eight-lane road from Rainbow to Decatur boulevards and a bridge over the Union Pacific railroad tracks west of Jones Boulevard, is expected to finish this June.

Currently, traffic in both directions is driving over what will eventually be the westbound lanes.

You can expect that to continue until the eastbound lanes and bridge are fully constructed in the early summer, said Bob McKenzie, spokesman for the Nevada Department of Transportation.

Paul Versailles asks: What is the Nevada law concerning obscuring the state name on a license plate with the frame?

The state law does not specifically address whether the state name must be visible but does indicate that there should be no obstructions that would prevent someone from reading the license plate.

Nevada Revised Statute 482.275 is the governing law regarding the visibility and method of display for vehicle license plates.

Section 4 states: “Every license plate must at all times be … in a place and position to be clearly visible, and must be maintained free from foreign materials and in a condition to be clearly legible.”

I’ve been told in the past that the way state and law enforcement officials look at this issue is whether something important on the plate is being covered up, i.e., a registration sticker, an identifying number or letter or a state name.

The state that issued the license plate is important in many situations. For instance, a member of law enforcement when pulling someone over will contact dispatchers and tell them the license plate number and the state name. This is done to see whether there have been any crimes or warrants reported in association with the plate.

Dixie Perkinson asks: When driving through a reduced speed school zone and the sign says to go 15 mph when children are present, does that include when children are on the playground behind the school’s locked chain link fence?

Local law enforcement, specifically the Metropolitan Police Department, is hoping the Legislature will clarify the law regarding school zones.

Both the city of Las Vegas and Clark County have been erecting these signs with the intention that it means when school is in session and children are present.

The problem is that different schools are in session at different times and not every driver can possibly know every school’s exact schedule.

Until the Legislature clarifies the issue, I recommend slowing down to 15 mph when common sense tells you that school is in session — regardless of whether you see any students.

Jim Frake asks: Are DMV files considered public records? If so, why can’t we search online for the name and address of the registered owner of any vehicle just by inputting the license plate number?

DMV files are not considered public records in the sense that anyone can see them, department spokesman Tom Jacobs said.

“Part of the key to our mission is the integrity and privacy of our database,” Jacobs said.

And that mission is spelled out under NRS 481.063.

I won’t get into every aspect of the state law because the guidelines are quite long. The law states who can gain access to the database and for what reason and how much information can be released.

As you may suspect, law enforcement agencies and state and federal courts are granted access relating to criminal and civil investigations.

The same goes for other government agencies, including the Division of Welfare and Supportive Services and the Department of Health and Human Services.

Licensed private investigators and insurers are allowed certain access. As are journalists.

But there are limitations to what some groups can get. For instance, private investigators, insurers and journalists are allowed information on a driver’s license, but not allowed access to photographs.

You can check out the law via the state Web site www.leg.state.nv.us.

If you have a question, tip or tirade, call Francis McCabe at (702) 387-2904, or send an e-mail to roadwarrior@reviewjournal.com. Please include your phone number.

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