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Annual Seat Belt Enforcement and Education Program to be Conducted throughout New Jersey
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2009 “Click It or Ticket” Campaign Will Run from May 18 to May 31

May 18, 2009 (rt23 news) - Trenton - Law enforcement officers throughout New Jersey will be cracking down on unbuckled motorists and their passengers as part of the national “Click It or Ticket” campaign, Division of Highway Traffic Safety Director Pam Fischer announced today.

Beginning May 18 and running through May 31, the effort includes high visibility law enforcement seat belt checkpoints and saturation patrols, as well as local and national publicity designed to ensure that drivers and passengers recognize the life-saving value of seat belts. As part of the initiative, the Division will provide grants of $4,000 each to 190 municipalities throughout the State. The New Jersey State Police will also participate in the two-week program. Additional county and municipal police departments are expected to participate in the initiative using their own resources.

Last year, the seat belt usage rate in New Jersey rose for the 12th consecutive year to 91.75%. Fischer noted that while seat belt usage rates increase in New Jersey each year, law enforcement and safety officials continue to strive for a 100 percent compliance rate.

“New Jersey has one of the strongest seat belt usage rates in the nation, but our work isn’t done,” Fischer added. “While the last 10 percent is often the most difficult to achieve, we’re confident that by continuing to focus on enforcement and public outreach efforts that educate motorists and passengers about the critical importance of buckling up, every ride, we’ll meet our goal.”

Under the state’s current primary seat belt law, all motorists and passengers in the front seat who do not buckle up face a $46 fine. A bill is currently pending in the Legislature that would require all back seat passengers 18 years of age and older to buckle up, as well.

“We know that only 32 percent of adults are currently using seat belts when riding in the back seat,” Fischer said. “Since 2003, a total of 259 unbuckled back seat passengers have lost their lives in traffic crashes. In 2008, only 27 percent of those back seat passengers killed in traffic crashes were using a seat belt. A seat belt is the single most effective safety device in a motor vehicle. Passengers who don’t buckle up in the back seat not only put themselves at risk, but everyone else in the vehicle. Unbuckled passengers continue to move at the same rate of speed as the vehicle they’re traveling in until they hit something, literally becoming ‘bullets.’”

Fischer added that the impact of hitting the seat back, the dashboard, the windshield or even another vehicle occupant can be deadly, stating, “It’s also not uncommon for unbelted passengers to be thrown from a vehicle in the event of a crash and either crushed by that vehicle or another on the road.

“Wearing your seat belt, regardless of seating position, is the simplest way to protect yourself when you’re riding in a motor vehicle,” Fischer stressed. “Seat belts increase your chances of surviving a crash by as much as 75 percent. So, whether you’re riding in your own vehicle, or a van or car pool, in the front or back seat, always buckle up.”

Director Fischer also noted that only 53 percent of children and teens between the ages of eight and 18 are buckling up in the rear of a vehicle. Under New Jersey law, drivers are responsible for ensuring that all passengers under 18 years of age are properly restrained in the appropriate car or booster seat and/or seat belt.
This year’s “Click It or Ticket” campaign will also stress the importance of nighttime seat belt use. Nationally, 45 percent of passenger vehicle occupants killed during the day in 2007 were not using a seat belt, while 63 percent of passenger vehicle occupants killed at night were not buckled up.
A list of agencies receiving “Click It or Ticket” grants is available on the Division’s web site, at .

Posted by: staff
May 18, 2009

Annual Seat Belt Enforcement and Education Program to be Conducted throughout New Jersey

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