Police To Scrutinize Student Drivers

Area students driving to and from school will find their driving habits and seatbelt use under heavy scrutiny by the Reno Police Department and other local law enforcement agencies as part of continuing seatbelt enforcement efforts.

The Reno Police Department will be joined by the Washoe County Sheriff's Office, Sparks Police Department and the Washoe County School District Police in putting an emphasis on seatbelt use awareness and teen driving habits to reduce the potential for injury or fatal student accidents based on national statistics, as well as reducing the number of reported accidents within the City of Reno.

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 teen seatbelt enforcement program, which will continue through January 20, is 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.

Regular use of seatbelts is probably the single most effective way to reduce injuries and fatalities in traffic accidents, according to the Reno Police Department which also points out 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.

With students returning to schools this week from the holiday break, 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.