Seat belt campaign under way |

Seat belt campaign under way

Gregory Crofton, Tahoe Daily Tribune

On Nevada highways last year, 239 people died in car crashes — 156 of whom were not wearing a seat belt.

Had those people strapped in, the Nevada Office of Traffic Safety estimates as many as 70 lives could have been saved.

A weeklong enforcement program called “No Exceptions, No Excuses, Buckle Up Nevada” starts today. Sheriff’s deputies and police throughout the state will issue more tickets than normal to drivers caught not wearing a seat belt.

There is a $50 fine for the violation in Douglas County, said sheriff’s Sgt. Lance Modispacher.

“People who aren’t traveling extremely fast bump into each other and it’s amazing the amount of damage done to a person’s face if they are not wearing a seat belt,” Modispacher said. “People strike the steering wheel and the windshield. It doesn’t take much.”

Almost 75 percent of all drivers consistently wear seat belts, according to state statistics.

As part of the Buckle Up program, two message boards will be set up in Minden at U.S. Highway 395 and Highway 88 to remind drivers and passengers to fasten their seat belts.

By law, officers can only stop a vehicle and conduct a safety belt check if a driver is speeding, commits another traffic violation or if a child is not restrained properly. A driver can be ticketed if their passengers are under 18 and not wearing a seat belt.

“It always an officer’s discretion,” Modispacher said. “But if you’re not wearing a safety belt and get stopped, don’t come crying to us for not forewarning you.”

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