New Jersey's 15th annual Click It or Ticket seat belt campaign kicks off May 20 and lasts until June 2.

Eric Heitmann, director of the New Jersey Department of Highway Traffic Safety, said the purpose of the two-week campaign is to emphasize the life-saving value of seat belts and reinforce the idea that every person should be buckled up in every position on every trip —every time.

Heitmann said funding is being provided to 128 New Jersey police departments and the State Police to participate in the campaign but he said they'll be looking to every department to report statistics.

In 2018, cops from 357 police departments handed out nearly 20,000 seat belt citations during the campaign, said Heitmann. That's up from nearly 18,000 in 2017. Police officers also made other arrests while pulling people over for seat belt violations.

"The ones that stand out were about 661 DWI arrests and over 4,000 suspended drivers who were apprehended during the mobilization period," said Heitmann. Officers also wrote more than 4,400 speeding citations and 534 child restraint citations.

Crash statistics show that from 2013 through 2017, seat belt use saved more than 69,000 lives, more than 1,000 of them in New Jersey. Experts say wearing a seat belt reduces a vehicle occupant's risk of fatal injury by 45% and critical injury by 50%.

New Jersey has one of the best seat belt usage rates in the nation at 94.5%. That's above the national average which is just below 90%. But Heitmann said the problems in New Jersey is that there are too many people still not buckling up in the back seat. The NHTSA survey found that only 39% of adults riding in rear seats used seat belts.

New Jersey's primary seat belt law requires all motorists and passengers in the front seat to wear a seat belt or face a $46 fine. The ticket is issued to the driver. Legislation passed in 2010 making it a secondary offense for adults to ride unbuckled in the back seat of a vehicle.

That is a huge concern, said Heitmann.

"This year, our Click It or Ticket campaign will promote seat belt usage in all seating positions in the vehicle, both front and rear seats. History has shown us that when it comes to seat belt usage, habits can be changed over time. Buckling up in the back seat is an important habit that will save lives."

Here's the list of all 128 towns participating.

ATLANTIC COUNTY
Atlantic City
Egg Harbor Township 
Galloway 
Hamilton 
Mullica 

BERGEN COUNTY
Elmwood Park 
Fairview 
Garfield
Glen Rock
Leonia
Lodi
Moonachie
Ramsey
Ridgefield Park
South Hackensack
Teaneck

BURLINGTON COUNTY
Bordentown
Bordentown Township
Delran
Evesham
Lumberton
Mansfield
Palmyra

CAMDEN COUNTY
Barrington
Camden County Metro
Cherry Hill
Gloucester Township
Haddon Heights
Pennsauken
Runnemede
Stratford
Winslow

CAPE MAY COUNTY
North Wildwood
Wildwood

CUMBERLAND COUNTY
Millville
Vineland

ESSEX COUNTY
Belleville
Bloomfield
Caldwell
Cedar Grove
Essex County Sheriff
Essex Fells
Fairfield
Glen Ridge
Livingston
Maplewood
Montclair
North Caldwell
Nutley
West Caldwell
West Orange

GLOUCESTER COUNTY
Clayton
Deptford
East Greenwich
Glassboro
Greenwich
Harrison
Logan
Mantua
Monroe
Pitman
Rowan University
Washington
West Deptford
Westville
Woodbury
Woolwich

HUDSON COUNTY
Hudson County Sheriff
North Bergen Township
Secaucus

HUNTERDON COUNTY
Clinton
Clinton Township
Flemington
Franklin
Lambertville
Lebanon
Raritan Township
Tewksbury
West Amwell

MERCER COUNTY
East Windsor
Ewing
Hamilton
Hopewell
Lawrence
Trenton

MIDDLESEX COUNTY
Monroe
North Brunswick
Plainsboro
South Brunswick

MONMOUTH COUNTY
Aberdeen
Allentown
Englishtown
Freehold Township
Manalapan
Marlboro

MORRIS COUNTY
Dover
Parsippany-Troy Hills

OCEAN COUNTY
Jackson
Manchester
Point Pleasant Beach
Point Pleasant

PASSAIC COUNTY
Haledon
Little Falls

SOMERSET COUNTY
Bedminster
Bernards
Bernardsville
Bound Brook
Branchburg
Bridgewater
Franklin
Green Brook
Manville
Montgomery
North Plainfield
Peapack Gladstone
Raritan
Somerset County Sheriff
Somerville
South Bound Brook
Warren

SUSSEX COUNTY
Stanhope
Verona

UNION COUNTY
Cranford
Elizabeth
Linden
Plainfield
Rahway
Westfield

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