Getting serious about driving violations |

Getting serious about driving violations

by Maggie O'Neill
Appeal Staff Writer
Cathleen Allison/Nevada Appeal Mike Mitchell, director of operations for the Carson City School District, talks about new signs that will be posted at Carson High School and other area schools. The district is expanding its traffic enforcement policy to increase officers' ability to cite drivers.

At 2 p.m. on a school day at Carson High School the main loop in front is flush with drivers violating the law – those parked in the red zone waiting for their children.

A new policy passed by the Carson City School Board, allows the school’s lead safety officer to cite offenders for the non-moving violation, which has been allowed in the past, but also to cite drivers for moving violations, like speeding, reckless driving and stop-sign violations.

It also allows the school resource officer, a deputy from the Carson City Sheriff’s Department, to cite for both moving and non-moving violations, a role previously limited because the school is treated as private property under the law.

It will also allow any sheriff’s deputy onto the property to issue citations for violations, such as a driver doing doughnuts at night in the parking lot.

Deputies are now limited to ticketing for hit-and-run, driving under the influence, and reckless driving violations at any school campus.

“Now we’ll be able to reinforce the district policies of no parking in certain areas, careless driving, speeding and registration violations and anything that goes along with a moving vehicle,” said sheriff’s Chief Deputy Steve Schuette.

The policy still needs to be approved by the Carson City Board of Supervisors.

When that is complete, expected within the next few weeks, Mike Mitchell, director of operations for the Carson City School District, plans to post 32 signs at school sites informing drivers they can be ticketed if they violate Carson City Municipal Code.

About 10 of the signs will be posted at the high school. Newsletters and fliers will also be sent home to inform parents.

Orlando Sanchez, who has been the district’s lead safety officer for nearly 15 years, expects the expanded ticketing authority will make the school safer.

“We want to instill confidence in the general public that this is in the spirit of safety for the people here on campus,” said Sanchez, who is Peace Officer Standards and Training certified. “That’s all that we’re trying to do here.”

Deputy Mark Jongsma, the school resource officer, said parking violations and reckless driving are major issues at the school. Not only do students cut in front of each other, they peel out and turn at stop signs from left lanes. He believes driving habits will improve on campus once fines are levied.

“Typically when you put some teeth in something, there’s a change in behavior,” he said.

Once approved by the board of supervisors, the policy will allow Sanchez, Jongsma, and any sheriff’s deputies to cite drivers for moving and non-moving violations at any of the school sites, including during football games, dances and special events.

“For their well-being and safety, people should assume how they’re expected to drive in public is how we expect them to drive on our campuses,” said Mitchell. “Come Dec. 1, we’re going to enforce it. Right now, we expect it, but (in December) we’re going to demand it.”

– Contact reporter Maggie O’Neill at or 881-1219.

Violations and associated fines:

• Speeding, $87-$152, depending on the speed

• Stop-sign violations, $107

• Careless driving, $237

• Parking in a handicapped space, $187

• Parking in the red zone, $67

Anyone under the age of 18 who is cited will be required to appear in juvenile court.