NHP and CHP team to crack down on distracted driving

RENO, Nev. (KOLO) The Nevada Highway Patrol (NHP) Northern Command has teamed with the California Highway Patrol's (CHP) San Francisco Bay Area and Sacramento Divisions to reduce distracted and reckless driving. The "I-80 Initiative" stretches from San Francisco, where I-80 begins, to West Wendover, Nevada.

"We see a lot of fatalities every month, every year," NHP Trooper Matt McLaughlin says. "We're obviously trying to reduce those fatalities."

Through September 3, drivers will see an increase in troopers. Troopers will increase safety operations and if necessary, issue citations to drivers who violate traffic laws.

"It's one of those things that oftentimes, it's not until they get stopped by a trooper that they need to get educated on using a hands-free device, so sometimes using that citation is the enforcement we need to change behavior," McLaughlin says.

The upcoming Labor Day weekend and multiple events are part of the reason for the crackdown. Another big reason: CHP recently lost one of its own because of a distracted driver.

"Their officer was killed when a driver was focusing on an electronic device and lost control, killing one of their officers," McLaughlin says.

NHP says drivers should always wear a seat belt, drive at a safe speed for roadway conditions, eliminate distractions and always designate a sober driver.

"Yes, there are a lot events this weekend and a lot of places you can go and things you can do," McLaughlin says. "But it doesn't do you, or your fellow passengers, any good if you don't get there safely."