Seat belts checked on South Shore drivers |

Seat belts checked on South Shore drivers

Last week’s crackdown of seat belt violators proved effective with numerous citations issued compared to last year, a California Highway Patrol captain said.

Capt. Chuck Chellew said officers in his jurisdiction, the El Dorado County portion of Lake Tahoe as well as Alpine County, pulled over tons of people for the infraction and heard just as many excuses.

“It was anywhere from ‘I forgot to put it on,’ to ‘I was just going down the road,’ and ‘I just don’t like them’,” Chellew said. “Folks believe that it doesn’t help you in accidents. I find it odd because statistically it does save lives.”

Chellew didn’t have concrete numbers on the citations given last week. Neither did South Lake Tahoe Police Department. The department applied for and received a grant to fund officer overtime from Nov. 25 to Dec. 1.

Seat belt fines were $32 prior to Monday, when they were raised 60 cents, an employee at the traffic and small claims court at South Lake Tahoe said. The increase was put into effect after Gov. Gray Davis signed a bill on Sept. 30.

Sgt. Randy Peshon with the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Department said he noticed a few more reports on seat belt violations than normal.

“We appreciate the public cooperation,” Peshon said. “Seat belts do save lives.”

Chellew didn’t cite any particular areas where more tickets were given than others.

There will be another concentrated enforcement period in May, Chellew said, but added people will be stopped for not wearing their seat belts all the time.

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