New Jersey Law Enforcement Agencies to Participate in 16-State, Border-to-Border Enforcement Campaign to Kick Off Seat Belt Crackdowns

TRENTON – Local and state law enforcement agencies in New Jersey will today join peers in 15 other states in a coordinated border-to-border seat belt enforcement effort that will kickoff the annual Click It or Ticket campaign nationwide.

From 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. tonight, law enforcement officers from more than 50 departments in New Jersey will join with colleagues from New York, Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Tennessee, West Virginia, Maryland, Virginia, Georgia and Florida to set up checkpoints and roving patrols near border crossings to enforce seat belt usage. This targeted operation signals the beginning of the Click It or Ticket campaign, which runs in New Jersey through May 31. New Jersey’s participants will come from Bergen, Hudson, Passaic, Essex, Warren, Mercer, Cape May, Burlington and Camden counties.

Each year in New Jersey, an average of 150 unrestrained motor vehicle drivers and passengers are killed in crashes. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 9,580 passenger vehicle occupants killed in 2013 were not wearing their seat belts at the time of the crash.  And unbelted fatalities are more prevalent at night than during the daytime:  59 percent of those killed in 2013 during the overnight hours of 6 p.m. to 5:59 a.m. unbelted at the time of the crash. 

“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 Division of Highway Traffic Safety Acting Director Gary Poedubicky. “We want to make this the safest summer possible. Buckling up is not optional; it’s the difference between life and death in a crash.  That’s why we’re out here enforcing the law.”

One hundred and eighty one agencies received $4,000 each to run the seatbelt enforcement checkpoints and saturation patrols for the 14-day crackdown. Last year, 75 percent of New Jersey police agencies, or 374 of 495, participated in the Click It or Ticket campaign. The mobilization ran from May 19 to June 1 and resulted in 26,635 seat belt citations. Police officers also wrote 692 child restraint and 4,363 speeding citations, and made 944 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.