LINDEN — Law enforcement officers from the Linden Police Department will be cracking down on unbuckled motorists and their passengers as part of the national “Click it or Ticket” campaign.
Beginning May 21 and running through June 3, the annual initiative 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.
“Using a seat belt is the simplest way for a driver and his or her passengers to protect themselves when traveling,” said Gary Poedubicky, acting director of the New Jersey Division of Highway Traffic Safety. “In 2010 alone, seat belts saved an estimated 12,546 lives nationwide.”
Last year, the front seat belt usage rate in New Jersey rose for the 15th consecutive year to 94.51%. Poedubicky noted that while front seat belt usage rates continue to increase in New Jersey, law enforcement and safety officials want to ultimately see a 100 percent compliance rate.
“New Jersey has a strong front seat belt usage rate, but there is still work to do,” he said. “To meet our goal, we must continue both enforcement and public outreach efforts that educate all motor vehicle occupants about the importance of buckling up, every ride.”
Poedubicky added that the campaign will focus on rear seat passengers as well. Despite laws requiring adult back seat passengers to buckle up, adult back seatbelt use stands at only 35 percent.
During the 2011 “Click it or Ticket” campaign, 419 police agencies participated in the two-week initiative. As a result of the effort, law enforcement officers issued 32,228 seat belt citations, 5,865 speeding summonses and made 953 drunk driving arrests.
“Over the past five years, our department has been averaging 486 seat belt citations during the two week campaign,” said Linden Traffic Bureau Commander Michael Babulski. “We will continue to make enforcing seat belt violations a top priority, not only during the two week campaign, but throughout the entire year.”
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