Beginning today, the Lakewood Police Department will be cracking down on drivers who fail to wear a seatbelt when driving, as part of the nationwide Click It or Ticket campaign. The mobilization will be from May 19 – June 1, 2014, in an effort to raise awareness and increase seat belt usage through a combination of enforcement and education.
From 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. tonight, law enforcement officers from New Jersey, New York, Vermont, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Delaware, West Virginia, Maryland and Virginia will 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 June 1.
One hundred and twenty five agencies throughout the 11 states are expected to participate, including 21 in New Jersey: Montvale, Northvale, River Vale, Franklin Lakes, Pennsauken, Haddon Twp., Palmyra, Ewing Twp., Burlington City, Pohatcong, Phillipsburg, Essex County Sheriff, Passaic County Sheriff, Jersey City, North Bergen, Guttenberg, West New York, Union City, Fort Lee, Bergen County Police and New Jersey State Police.
“Because we border three other states, New Jersey is a vital cog in this enforcement effort,” said Division of Highway Traffic Safety Acting Director Gary Poedubicky. “The border crossing to our north, west and south are heavily trafficked areas important locations to deploy law enforcement to ensure that seat belt laws are being obeyed.”
One hundred and eighty four agencies received $4,000 each to run the seatbelt enforcement checkpoints and saturation patrols for the 14-day crackdown. Last year, 85 percent of New Jersey police agencies, or 422 of 495, participated in the Click It or Ticket campaign. The mobilization ran from May 20 to June 2 and resulted in 26,049 seat belt citations. Police officers also wrote 612 child restraint and 4,895 speeding citations, and made 860 DWI arrests.
“Despite major advancements in vehicle manufacturing and technology, seat belts remain the most effective safety feature available in cars today,” Poedubicky said. “Simply put, a seat belt can mean the difference between life, death, or serious injury. Encouraging New Jersey residents to buckle up is an ongoing priority of our division and the many law enforcement agencies with whom we work.”
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.
Lakewood, like most other municipalities, received $4,000 for the campaign. [TLS]