Sweep nets dozens of seat belt, cellphone violators

Nighttime patrols resulted in 108 traffic stops and more than four dozen citations, police said.

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WALLA WALLA -- Dozens of drivers recently discovered that leaving off their seat belts or breaking cellphone rules isn't a good idea.

Starting last month and ending Sunday, drivers violating laws for seat belt and cellphone use found themselves targeted by local law enforcement officers. The three nighttime seat belt emphasis patrols were funded by a grant from the Washington Traffic Safety Commission, said Officer Tim Bennett, Walla Walla police spokesman.

The patrols involved officers from Walla Walla, College Place and the Washington State Patrol. Officers made 108 traffic stops that resulted in 22 citations for seat belt use infractions, 26 for cellphone violations and four for failure to have proof of insurance. Five drivers were cited for suspended licenses and two people were arrested on outstanding warrants. Another 39 drivers received warnings.

The next grant-funded emphasis patrols will take place later this summer when officers will be out in force looking to remove drunken drivers from roadways, Bennett said.

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