Motorists, passengers encouraged to wear seat belts

Officers in both South Brunswick and North Brunswick will again take part in the nationwide effort to increase the use of seat belts.

The national “Click it or Ticket” campaign will focus on enforcement and education from May 22 to June 4 using high visibility seat belt checkpoints and saturation patrols, in combination with local and national publicity efforts, to reiterate the lifesaving 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,” Gary Poedubicky, acting director of the New Jersey Division of Highway Traffic Safety, said in a statement released by the South Brunswick Police Department.

In 2015, it is estimated that 14,000 lives were saved nationally by the proper use of seat belts.

Poedubicky added that a key focus of this year’s campaign is to promote seat belt usage by adults in all seating positions in the vehicle, both front and rear seats. The front seat belt usage rate in New Jersey currently stands at 93.35 percent. However, adults riding in rear seats are buckling up at a significantly lower rate, according to the statement.

“For whatever reason there seems to be a disconnect with people feeling they don’t need to buckle up when riding as a passenger in rear seats, and this is a concern,” he said.

“Police officers see firsthand the injuries and deaths that result from crashes with people not wearing seat belts. Last year in the township, one person was killed in a crash as a direct result of not wearing a seat belt,” South Brunswick Police Chief Hayducka said in the statement. “Our focus is saving lives through increased compliance. We are putting out advanced notice of our enforcement efforts so that seat belt usage goes up even prior to the enforcement.”

In February, a 23-year-old man was saved by his seat belt after he lost control on Davidson Mill Road and crashed into a pole, according to reports.

“The photo clearly shows that if not for the driver wearing his seat belt, the outcome would have been tragic,” Hayducka said.

During the 2016 “Click it or Ticket” campaign, 387 New Jersey police agencies participated in the two-week initiative. As a result of the effort, law enforcement officers issued 26,551 seat belt citations, 5,517 speeding summonses and made 876 impaired driving arrests, according to the statement.

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