As Nevadans prepare for the new year, they should be aware of new laws that come into effect in 2023. One of these big changes starting January 1st, 2023, is that traffic tickets for minor offenses will no longer be criminalized, and Nevadans will no longer be taken to jail for not paying them. Additionally, all pending warrants related to minor traffic violations and unpaid tickets will be canceled, but not necessarily scrubbed off your record.
This new law has been years in the making, and there are an estimated 270,000 Clark County residents alone with active warrants due to minor traffic violations. Assembly Bill 116, which was passed in the 2021 Legislative Sessions, hopes that the passing of the bill will keep people out of jail for minor offenses, which not only prevents overcrowding in Nevada jails, but ends the practice of issuing warrants to hard working-class Nevadans who can’t pay the fines imposed.
Clark County Commissioner, William McCurdy II stated “You will not be jailed for minor traffic infractions like a broken taillight or riding with too many people in the bed of a truck.” He wants everyone to be aware of this upcoming law change, especially those with outstanding traffic warrants. McCurdy also stated that a large majority of the people who are cited for these infractions are people of color and working Nevadans, and these traffic tickets have done serious harm to these communities with people going to jail simply because they cannot afford to pay a fine. Being in jail, even if it’s for one day, can impact your quality of life, and it can result in losing your job, inability to pay the bills, and trickles down to the rest of your household, including the children.
McCurdy will be hosting Traffic Ticket Workshops with Judge Belinda Harris for Clark County residents to understand if their outstanding traffic warrant is related to one of the now decriminalized civil penalties.
What if I Don’t Pay a Ticket Issued in Nevada?
If you don’t pay the fine and fail to appear in court, you will still be on the hook for the ticket, but you will not be jailed for it, explained McCurdy. The tickets will also be reported to insurance and collections, so they are not necessarily scrubbed off your record.
McCurdy also reminds citizens that this decriminalization only applies to those violations deemed minor. This does not include more serious offenses such as reckless driving, DUIs, etc. 
Ringing in the New Year Safely
Ringing in the new year can be a fun celebration for Nevadans, but it is important to do so smartly and safely. Statistics show that compared to an average weekend night, there are 71 percent more crashes involving drugs or alcohol as a contributing factors between December 31st at 6pm and January 1st at 6am.  Additionally, the National Safety Council estimates that more than 400 people die on US roads each New Year’s holiday period and in 2020, during the New Year’s Holiday period, 49 percent of fatalities involved an alcohol-impaired driver. Additionally, NSC estimates that an estimated 163 lives could be saved during the New Year’s holiday if a seatbelt or proper restraint is worn. 
In anticipation of the holiday and New Year festivities, the RTC of Southern Nevada announced adjusted schedules for both Christmas and New Year’s Day. RTC will operate on the Saturday schedule on both days. In addition, to promote safety and reduce DUIs, they will be offering free rides on all 39 routes between 6pm New Year’s Eve and 9am New Year’s Day. They will also be adding a several additional routes on a 24-hour schedule or with extended hours.
Commuters in the Las Vegas area for the holidays should expect longer trips, as well as heavy delays during peak traffic hours as well as peak traffic days such as Monday December 26th, and Monday January 2nd. More congested areas in the region include southbound on I-15 at the Nevada California border.