Linden — The Linden Police Department is reminding drivers about the lifesaving benefits of wearing a seat belt this spring, during the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) national Click It or Ticket high-visibility enforcement effort. The national seat belt campaign, which coincides with the Memorial Day holiday, runs from May 24th until June 6th, 2021.
“We want the act of buckling up to become automatic to all drivers and passengers,” said Police Chief David Hart. “It’s not just a safe thing to do; it’s the law. During the Click It or Ticket campaign, we’ll be working with our fellow law enforcement officers across local and state lines to ensure the message gets out to drivers and passengers. Buckling up is the simplest thing you can do to limit injury or save your life during a crash. We see the results of not wearing a seat belt all the time. We see the loss of life. So often, it could have been prevented.”
For this year’s Click It or Ticket seat belt mobilization effort, NHTSA is asking all states to participate in the kickoff event, Border to Border (B2B), a one-day, 4-hour national seat belt awareness event on May 24 that is coordinated by participating state highway safety offices and their respective law enforcement liaisons. The B2B program aims to increase law enforcement participation by coordinating highly visible seat belt enforcement and providing seat belt fact sheets for drivers at heavily traveled, highly visible state border checkpoints.
According to NHTSA, in 2019, there were 9,466 unbuckled passenger vehicle occupants killed in crashes in the United States. In that same year, 55% of passenger vehicle occupants killed at night (6 p.m.–5:59 a.m.) were not wearing their seat belts. That’s why one focus of the Click It or Ticket campaign is nighttime enforcement. Participating law enforcement agencies will be taking a no-excuses approach to seat belt law enforcement, writing citations day and night. In New Jersey, the penalty for a seat belt violation is $46.
“You may think you’re safe in a certain vehicle, or on a certain road, but the truth is, you’re safest when you buckle up, no matter what,” said Chief Hart. “Unfortunately, many families are suffering because their loved ones refused to follow this simple step.” Almost twice as many males were killed in crashes as compared to females, with lower belt use rates, too. Of the males killed in crashes in 2019, more than half (51%) were unrestrained. For females killed in crashes, 40% were not buckled up.
“If the enforcement effort wakes people up to the dangers of unrestrained driving, then we’ll consider our mission to be a success,” said Chief Hart. “If you know a friend or a family member who does not buckle up when they drive, please ask them to consider changing their habits. Help us spread this lifesaving message before one more friend or family member is killed as a result of this senseless inaction. Seat belts save lives, and everyone — front seat and back, child and adult — needs to remember to buckle up.”