NEW JERSEY – You’ve heard the phrase before: “Click It or Ticket.”
As summer season rolls in, so does summer travel and traffic. The Division of Highway Traffic Safety and local law enforcement agencies are teaming up once again to launch the 15th year of the nationwide “Click It or Ticket” campaign, encouraging drivers everywhere to buckle up.
Beginning May 20 and continuing through June 2, local law enforcement agencies will be out in full force enforcing and emphasizing the life-saving value of seat belts.
The Click It or Ticket campaign uses high visibility seat belt checkpoints, saturation patrols, as well as local and national publicity efforts, to reinforce the message that motorist should buckle up during every trip.
According to crash statistics, between 2013 and 2017, seatbelts saved more than 69,000 lives nationally, more than 1,000 in New Jersey alone. Drivers and passengers than wear a seatbelt in the car reduce their risk of fatal injury by 45 percent and critical injury by 50 percent.
“Despite many recent advancements in auto safety technology like crash avoidance and lane departure warnings, there is no device more effective in protecting drivers and passengers from injury and death than seat belts,” said Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal. “Our law enforcement officers see firsthand the consequences of not buckling up. Click It or Ticket is an opportunity for them to educate the public to make a difference and save lives.”
While NJ has a very good record of buckling up, law enforcement will be out there to remind everyone what a difference it makes. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), New Jersey drivers and their front-seat passengers buckled up at a rate of 94.5 percent in 2018, well above the national average of 89.6 percent. The Click It or Ticket campaign has been credited as a factor in this success rate.
However, there is still work to be done, as only 39 percent of adults riding in rear seats used seat belts.
“For whatever reason there seems to be a disconnect with people feeling they don’t need to buckle up when riding as passengers in rear seats, and this is a concern,” said Eric Heitmann, Director of the Division of Highway Traffic Safety. “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 seatbelt usage, habits can be changed over time. Buckling up in the back seat is an important habit that will save lives.”
The Click It or Ticket campaign encompasses nearly every NJ town. In 2018, 73 percent of NJ law enforcement agencies participated, doling out a total of 19,659 seat belt citations. In addition to seat belt citations, police officers wrote 534 child restraint and 4,437 speeding citations, and made 661 DWI arrests.
As a reminder: it is a state law that all motorists and passengers in the front seat, including passengers under the age of 18, wear a seat belt or be securely buckled in a car seat. Drivers who don’t oblige will face a $46 fine.
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 also 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.
For more information, follow the New Jersey Division of Highway Traffic Safety on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, and visit NJSafeRoads.com.