|TRENTON – As motorists take to the roads this Memorial Day holiday, the Division of Highway Traffic Safety is urging everyone to buckle up. Beginning on May 20, law enforcement officials will be out in full force, taking part in the 2013 national Click It or Ticket seat belt enforcement mobilization and cracking down on motorists who are not belted.
“As we kick-off the busy summer driving season it’s important that everyone buckles up every time they go out, both day and night – no excuses,” said Division of Highway Traffic Safety Acting Director Gary Poedubicky. “Officers throughout New Jersey are prepared to ticket anyone who is not wearing their seat belt.”
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 52 percent of the 21,253 passenger vehicle occupants killed in 2011 were not wearing their seat belts at the time of the crash. Deaths involving seat belt nonuse are more prevalent at night than during the daytime. According to NHTSA, 62 percent of the 10,135 passenger vehicle occupants killed in 2011 during the overnight hours of 6 p.m. to 5:59 a.m. were not wearing their seat belts at the time of the crash.
In 2011, seat belts saved an estimated 11,949 lives nationwide according to NHTSA. While this year’s Click It or Ticket enforcement mobilization runs from May 20 through June 2, officers are out enforcing seat belt laws year-round.
“Seat belts save thousands of lives every year, but far too many motorists are still not buckling up, especially at night when the risk of getting in a crash is even greater,” said Poedubicky. “We want everyone to have a safe summer, but it requires an important step on the part of motorists – clicking that seat belt.”
One hundred and twenty four agencies received $4,000 each to run the seatbelt enforcement checkpoints and saturation patrols. Last year, 86 percent of New Jersey police agencies, or 425 of 493, participated in the Click It or Ticket campaign. The mobilization ran from May 21 to June 3 and resulted in 29,307 seat belt citations. Police officers also wrote 981 child restraint and 4,951 speeding citations, and made 861 DWI arrests.
Legislation passed in 2010 made it a secondary offense for adults over the age of 18 to ride unbuckled in the back seat of a motor vehicle. The law allows police to issue a summons and fine of $46 to unrestrained adults in the back seat when the car they are riding in is pulled over for another violation. The state’s primary seat belt law requires all motorists and passengers in the front seat, including passengers under the age of 18, to wear a seat belt or be securely buckled in a car seat, or face a $46 fine. This ticket is issued to the driver.
For a list of all the agencies receiving grants for the Click It or Ticket crackdowns, please go to: www.nj.gov/oag/hts/downloads/CIOT_2013_Grant_Recipients.pdf