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For Immediate Release:  
For Further Information Contact:
May 17, 2005

Office of The Attorney General
- Peter C. Harvey, Attorney General
Division of Highway Traffic Safety
- Roberto Rodriguez, Director

 

Gary Myerovich
609-633-8727

 

New Jersey Seat Belt Use Continues to Rise as Shown by Independent ‘Click it or Ticket’ Pre-Mobilization Survey

(Trenton) - An independent pre-Click It or Ticket campaign survey shows that New Jersey is positioned to increase its seat belt use rate, which currently stands at 82%. The pre-mobilization survey was conducted by the New Jersey Institute of Technology in 13 counties representing urban, suburban and rural populations. The survey is required by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in advance of the two-week Click It or Ticket mobilization campaign that will begin later this month. This year the Division substantially increased the number of counties used for the pre-mobilization survey, to gain a better overview and representation of the data.

Using the NHTSA-approved weighted average formula, the pre-mobilization figure was 78% usage rate. That compares to 75% in 2004. Following the Click It or Ticket mobilization campaign which involves every county in the state, the percentage of seat belt use has historically trended upward 6-to-8 points from the pre-mobilization surveys.

The counties involved in the pre-mobilization survey were, Bergen, Burlington, Camden, Essex, Hudson, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Passaic, Somerset, and Union. NJIT pre-mobilization figures show Somerset County with the highest usage rate of 87%, while Hudson County had the lowest at 69%.

“Even though New Jersey’s enviable seat belt usage rate will likely increase over last year, the numbers show that usage in urban areas is lower”, said Roberto Rodriguez, Director of the Division of Highway Traffic Safety. “We recognize this and will be placing even more focus on these urban areas in our effort to save lives and reduce injuries.”

Director Rodriguez said more funding is needed to keep the seat belt usage rate high, and to allow police agencies to continue their vigilance with a year-round mobilization effort.

Each 1% increase in the national seat belt use rate saves 270 lives and the resulting 800 million dollars in economic costs. The pending ‘Click It or Ticket’ campaign will be taking direct aim at unbelted drivers and their passengers by police agencies throughout New Jersey to keep the seat belt usage rate growing even higher.

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