Law Makers Look at Seat Belts

Officer Tom Mueller with Reno Police Department has been working in the traffic division for about five years.
For the most part he says he concentrates on commercial vehicles. Those who drive semis he says are required to wear their seat belts at all times.

"For the last several years they've gotten to the point they are so concerned about enforcement of that element, I don't know if they have made it a law, but most manufacturers at least voluntarily, are making the seatbelts now florescent orange."

Here in Nevada you can be cited for not wearing a seat belt only if you are stopped for another offense. Mueller says most of the people he stops are aware of the current law and make accomodations as he approaches the vehicle. And often times he hears the excuses

"Oh I was reaching for my wallet or I just taken it off the pick up a c-d and forgotten to put it on."

But under Senate Bill 42 law enforcement would be able to stop you solely for not wearing a seat belt. Mueller says if it means more compliance he's all for the seat belt law, he says as an accident scene investigator, you know if someone wears a seat belt or not. Normally those ejected from a vehicle and often pronounced dead on the scene aren't wearing one.

He says for the most part people are wearing their seat belts. He says enforcing the law might be tough as its difficult to see seat belt use because of speed and tinted windows.

But he sees the law as a sign of the times, other states like California, Oregon, and Washington have similar codes, Nevada may want to fall in line.

Besides Senate Bill 42 Transportation Committee Members will also be considering a bill that would set up a pilot program on a "photo cop" proposal that would let authorities set up a pilot program using cameras to catch drivers running red lights or committing other traffic offenses.