20,000 seatbelt fines — NJ’s Click-It-or-Ticket blitz starts May 20
New Jersey's 15th annual Click It or Ticket seat belt campaign kicks off May 20 and lasts until June 2.
Eric Heitmann, director of the New Jersey Department of Highway Traffic Safety, said the purpose of the two-week campaign is to emphasize the life-saving value of seat belts and reinforce the idea that every person should be buckled up in every position on every trip —every time.
Heitmann said funding is being provided to 128 New Jersey police departments and the State Police to participate in the campaign but he said they'll be looking to every department to report statistics.
In 2018, cops from 357 police departments handed out nearly 20,000 seat belt citations during the campaign, said Heitmann. That's up from nearly 18,000 in 2017. Police officers also made other arrests while pulling people over for seat belt violations.
"The ones that stand out were about 661 DWI arrests and over 4,000 suspended drivers who were apprehended during the mobilization period," said Heitmann. Officers also wrote more than 4,400 speeding citations and 534 child restraint citations.
Crash statistics show that from 2013 through 2017, seat belt use saved more than 69,000 lives, more than 1,000 of them in New Jersey. Experts say wearing a seat belt reduces a vehicle occupant's risk of fatal injury by 45% and critical injury by 50%.
New Jersey has one of the best seat belt usage rates in the nation at 94.5%. That's above the national average which is just below 90%. But Heitmann said the problems in New Jersey is that there are too many people still not buckling up in the back seat. The NHTSA survey found that only 39% of adults riding in rear seats used seat belts.
New Jersey's primary seat belt law requires all motorists and passengers in the front seat to wear a seat belt or face a $46 fine. The ticket is issued to the driver. Legislation passed in 2010 making it a secondary offense for adults to ride unbuckled in the back seat of a vehicle.
That is a huge concern, said Heitmann.
"This year, our Click It or Ticket campaign will promote seat belt usage in all seating positions in the vehicle, both front and rear seats. History has shown us that when it comes to seat belt usage, habits can be changed over time. Buckling up in the back seat is an important habit that will save lives."
Here's the list of all 128 towns participating.
Egg Harbor Township
Camden County Metro
CAPE MAY COUNTY
Essex County Sheriff
Hudson County Sheriff
North Bergen Township
Point Pleasant Beach
Somerset County Sheriff
South Bound Brook