Served and protected: Seat belt sting nabs hundreds |

Served and protected: Seat belt sting nabs hundreds

William Ferchland

More than 400 tickets were given to motorists not wearing seat belts during a three-week enforcement period by the South Lake Tahoe Police Department.

The number of tickets, 405, surprised traffic officer Shannon Laney and greatly surpassed the 112 seat belt tickets given all of last year.

Money from the tickets, as usual, will be distributed to city, county and state coffers.

Laney admitted it was tougher to track down motorists not using seat belts near the end of the enforcement period, which ran May 15 to June 4.

South Lake Tahoe had a seat belt compliance rate of 76 percent before the program. A count of 100 vehicles Wednesday found the compliance rate at 86 percent, said Laney, whose goal was to push the city’s compliance rate to the state average of 92 percent.

The department received a grant of $15,000 to fund officer overtime during the “Click it or Ticket” program, a national campaign coordinated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Sgt. Brian Williams said drivers should continue wearing their seat belts.

“Because the ‘Click it or Ticket’ has now expired does not mean we are ignoring that violation,” Williams said. “We are still going to continue a vigilant effort to write these kinds of tickets because it’s an investment in saving lives.”

The next enforcement will focus on pedestrian safety along Lake Tahoe Boulevard near Stateline, a stretch that averages five or six accidents during the summer months, Laney said.

Two motorcycles for the traffic division are expected to arrive next week. Laney expects to use the motorcycles while watching the flow of vehicles between Park Avenue and Stateline.

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