N.J. Seat Belt Usage Rate Jumps Again

July 14, 2004

More New Jersey motorists are reportedly wearing their seat belts than ever before.

Observational surveys conducted in June by the Division of Highway Traffic Safety have determined that the state’s seat belt usage rate has risen to an all-time high of 82 percent. It is the eighth consecutive year that New Jersey’s seat belt usage rate has risen.

“Each increase in New Jersey’s seat belt usage rate means more lives saved and more injuries reduced on our roads,” Attorney General Peter Harvey said. “Motorists need to remember that all occupants of a vehicle need to be properly restrained on every trip.”

The new seat belt usage rate was established as the result of observational seat belt surveys carried out during June at 198 locations in seven New Jersey counties: Atlantic, Bergen, Burlington, Mercer, Middlesex, Ocean, and Union.

According to Division of Highway Traffic Safety Director Roberto Rodriguez, a key reason for the latest increase in the usage rate was the unprecedented high visibility enforcement of New Jersey’s Primary Seat Belt law during the recent “Click It or Ticket” statewide enforcement campaign.

In all, 380 municipal police departments participated in the “Click It or Ticket” program along with NJ State Police. The 381 agencies issued a total of 69,498 seat belt summonses to motorists who were not buckled up. The Division awarded “Click It or Ticket” grants to 222 municipal police departments. The remaining departments dedicated officers to the campaign on their own.

“New Jersey’s law enforcement community took up the challenge and supported the Click It or Ticket campaign this year in greater numbers than every before,” Rodriguez said. “We are pleased with the results of the campaign, however, the job is not finished. Our efforts to educate state residents about the importance of using their seat belt will continue.”

The “Click It or Ticket” enforcement effort was supported by a $535,000 paid media campaign in which seat belt safety commercials were aired on radio stations in New Jersey, New York City and Philadelphia.

Advertisements were also placed on New Jersey Transit buses and in movie theaters around the state.

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