N.J. seat belt use up for 15th straight year

An observational study by the New Jersey Institute of Technology finds a record 94.5 percent of occupants in the front seat of vehicles are now buckling up.

While that’s less than a 1 percent increase from last year, Highway Traffic Safety Acting Director Gary Poedubicky said it is significant. It’s also the 15th year in a row that seat belt use has increased in the Garden State.

“There will be six fatalities that will not occur because of that increase,” he said. “There will also be about 176 serious injuries that will be prevented as well.”

Poedubicky also said 61 percent of backseat passengers now use their seat belts. That’s well above the 48 percent last year.

He attributes the gain to legislation enacted last year that requires backseat occupants to buckle up or face a $46 fine.

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