Area students driving to and from school may find their driving habits and seatbelt use under heavy scrutiny by the Reno Police Department beginning October 20 through November 4 as part of National Teen Driver Safety Week, approved by Congress last month.
The Reno Police Department is joining other area law enforcement agencies to put an emphasis on teen driving habits in an effort to increase seatbelt use awareness and further reduce the reported accident rate in the City of Reno, but especially to reduce the potential for injury or fatal student accidents based on national statistics.
Teen drivers may receive a reward for good driving habits and seatbelt use in the form of free music downloads that are being provided through the Nevada Office of Traffic Safety.
Those failing to use seatbelts or who violate traffic laws face citations.
Seatbelt violations can be $115.00 each for a driver responsible for minors under the age of 18 who fail to use seatbelts.
About 70 percent of the people ages 16 to 20 killed on Nevada roads in 2006 failed to wear a seat belt.
At least 13 of those 34 drivers and passengers would probably be here today had they taken the time to buckle up.
The program is being funded through the Joining Forces grant from the Nevada Office of Traffic Safety.
The grant is used to support the Reno Police Department’s participation in statewide, multi-jurisdictional traffic enforcement activities that range from safety checkpoints to saturation patrols and enforcement of the “Click It or Ticket” seatbelt campaign focused on reducing fatalities and serious injury accidents in Nevada.
Those activities include enforcement of safety belt and child vehicle restraint laws, speed enforcement laws, pedestrian safety, and also targets those driving under the influence.
Nevada was chosen as one of 2 states to be given federal funding to launch a teen “click it or ticket” campaign.
The Federal Demonstration Grant, facilitated by the Nevada Department of Public Safety – Office of Traffic Safety, ensures that local law enforcement will buckle down on all motorists not buckling up, but especially teens.
The Reno Police Department points out that regular use of seatbelts is probably the single most effective way to reduce injuries and fatalities in traffic accidents, and that when worn correctly, seatbelts have proven to reduce the risk of fatal injury to front-seat passenger car occupants by 45 percent, and by 60 percent in pickup trucks sport utility vehicles and minivans.
Nearly one-in-five people or about 19 percent nationally, still fail to regularly wear their seat belts when driving or riding in a motor vehicle, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration observational seatbelt studies often resulting in needless tragic deaths that can be avoided simply be wearing a seatbelt.
The increased police presence in and around the high schools will include the morning commute period, during the lunch break when students have the ability to leave campus and return, and during the after school period.
Reno Police Officers will also be watching for motorists who put students and other pedestrians at risk by violating the 15 mile per hour speed limit in school zones.
Those drivers face citations with potential fines of $220.00.
Officers will also be watching for motorists to make sure they stop their vehicles for school buses as they pick up and drop off students, and pay attention to bus signaling devices that are activated when required stops are being made.
Among the area law enforcement agencies participating in National Teen Driver Safety Week are the Reno Police Department, Washoe County Sheriff’s Office, Washoe County School District Police Department, Nevada Highway Patrol, University of Nevada Reno Police Department and the Sparks Police Department.