Wearing a seat belt in a motor vehicle is the law in New Jersey, and law enforcement agencies throughout the state are looking to remind local residents that not buckling up comes with a price – both in terms of increased risks of injuries, and fines. In a statement released by the New Jersey Department of Law & Public Safety, the state’s annual “Click it or Ticket” campaign is now in full effect statewide.
As part of the campaign, law enforcement officers from more than 170 local departments will be increasing their seat belt enforcement efforts and writing extra tickets for drivers and front-seat passengers who don’t buckle up. The two-week enforcement blitz will last until June 3, and police will employ a zero tolerance policy.
Most departments participating in the enforcement campaign received funding from the state, and have used such funding in previous years to drastically increase the number of seat belt tickets issued. Last year, for example, over 300 agencies handed out nearly 18,000 tickets as part of the campaign, with State Police issuing roughly 4,000 of those tickets. The Bergen County Sheriff’s Office led the way with more than 1,600 citations in 2017. Police also increased the number of citations issued for speeding and child restraint violations, and made more than 975 DWI arrests in the two-week period alone.
Under New Jersey law, not wearing a seat belt is a moving violation that can result in a $46 fine. Here are a few additional things you should know about state seat belt laws:
- Drivers and front-seat passengers are required by law to wear a seat belt while a motor vehicle is being operated.
- Drivers are responsible for ensuring minors under 18 wear seat belts while riding in the front seat, and front-seat passengers over 18 are responsible for themselves.
- There are a few exceptions to New Jersey’s seat belt law. This includes being in a vehicle made before 1996, a vehicle not required by federal law to have seat belts (such as a bus), or having legitimate medical reasons with a written doctor’s note.
- Because the state’s seat belt law is a primary offense, law enforcement officers can pull drivers over and issue them a citation solely for not wearing their seat belts.
- New Jersey also enforces a child safety seat law, which requires children under the age of 8 who weigh 80 pounds or less to be secured with an appropriate child passenger restraint system.
The annual campaign, similar to those against roadway dangers such as distracted driving, is intended to raise awareness about the importance of wearing a seat belt. According to the state Department of Law & Public Safety, seat belts are the most important safeguard for occupants in motor vehicles, and they can increase the chances of surviving a crash by as much as 75%! Each year throughout the state, an average of 132 unrestrained vehicle occupants are killed in auto accidents.
At Levinson Axelrod, P.A., our New Jersey personal injury lawyers want to remind local residents that buckling up can very well save your life! As attorneys who handle numerous motor vehicle accident cases throughout the state, we have seen the devastation wrecks can cause, as well as the tremendous injuries that can occur when vehicle occupants don’t wear seat belts. While a seat belt is vital, it unfortunately can’t prevent accidents and injuries when other motorists are negligent – which is why we make ourselves available to help auto accident victims learn more about the personal injury claim process and their rights, including the right to a recovery of medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages.
If you have a potential car accident case to discuss and would like to learn more about our legal services, call (732) 440-3089 or contact us online for a free consultation.