Westfield's was among 128 police departments statewide, including six within Union County, to receive funding for the Click It or Ticket seatbelt safety campaign this year.

WESTFIELD, NJ — Town police ticketed 299 people in just two weeks during the spring of 2016, the last time the department participated in the nationwide seatbelt safety enforcement campaign, Click It or Ticket. And police are back at the ticket blitz.

The Westfield Police Department is joining police agencies from around the country in cracking down on unbuckled motorists and passengers as part of the national Click It or Ticket seat belt enforcement campaign, Police Chief Chris Battiloro announced.

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The annual Click It or Ticket seat belt enforcement campaign, which began this week and will continue until June 2, uses high-visibility seatbelt checkpoints and additional police patrols to focus enforcement efforts on seat belt usage, Battiloro said in a news release.

“Click It or Ticket is a high-visibility law enforcement effort that gives people even more of a reason to buckle up — the increased threat of a traffic ticket,” the chief stated.

“Most people do buckle up for safety, but for some people, it is only the threat of a ticket that prompts them to put on a seat belt,” said Battiloro, who started in his current role last August.

Westfield police received $5,500 this year to fund the personnel costs of the campaign, according to the state Division of Highway Traffic Safety. Other departments in Union County to receive grants in the same amount are Cranford, Elizabeth, Linden, Plainfield and Rahway, according to the state.

In 2016, Westfield police ticketed 63 people for riding unbuckled, three drivers for DWI, three drivers for not properly securing their child in a motor vehicle, two people for reckless driving, nine people for cell phone use while behind the wheel, eight people for careless driving, 13 people for driving with a suspended licenses and 183 people for other violations, according to the state figures.

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In New Jersey, a key focus of this year’s Click It or Ticket seat belt enforcement campaign is to promote seat belt usage by adults in all seating positions in the vehicle, both front and rear seats, police said.

The front seat belt usage rate in New Jersey currently stands at 94.47%. However, adults riding in rear seats are buckling up at a significantly lower rate — only 48%, according to a recent survey.

In New Jersey, 357 police agencies participated in the 2018 Click It or Ticket seat belt enforcement campaign, issuing 19,659 seat belt citations, 4,437 speeding citations and making 661 impaired driving arrests.