The seat belt enforcement campaign will continue through the Thanksgiving weekend and is supported through grant funding, which covers overtime and supplements patrol shifts.
According to a recent NDOT survey, more than 94 percent of motorists were compliant with the seat belt law during daylight hours, but close to 50 percent of all highway-related fatalities in the last year occurred because of unrestrained drivers or passengers.
In Sparks, four accident fatalities have occurred this year, with two of the deaths a result of passengers not wearing their seat belt, said Sparks police Sgt. Pat Dyer.
Sparks received $5,000 for its share of the “Click it or Ticket” campaign.
The campaign comes at a critically important time, officials said, as winter moves into the region.
“I always encourage motorists to start with their vehicle to make sure its prepared for winter,” said NDOT spokesman Chuck Allen.
Snow tires or chains are recommended for all cars, Allen said, and studded tires are permitted on area roads from October to April.
It is wise to carry blankets, extra clothing, a cell phone charger, nonperishable food and water when traveling through the region in the winter months, Allen said, just in case drivers get stuck in a snowstorm or road closure.
Allen said motorists can check road conditions, controls and accident reports online at www.nevadadot.com.
Perhaps most importantly, “Always allow for extra time” when traveling on roadways this winter, Allen said. And remember that snowmelt often freezes on area roadways, particularly bridges and overpasses, and ice can be difficult to see, he added.
Washoe County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Deputy Armando Avina said motorists need to slow down and be extra cautious when driving this winter.
“The majority of accidents that we’re responding to whenever inclement weather hits are SUVs,” he said, adding that drivers of all-wheel-drive vehicles tend to speed and take more chances on the road.
The holiday season also means more people will be driving as they attend parties, shop at malls and visit relatives.
“A lot of traffic is expected to be on our roadways in anticipation of Thanksgiving,” Allen said, meaning more accidents are likely to occur.
But the seat belt enforcement campaign is not meant to simply issue fines.
“It’s about awareness and enforcement,” Avina said.