Towns wanting to be part of the 4 thousand dollar “gravy train” took part in the recent “Click it or Ticket” campaign.

Not that 4 thousand goes so far; but it’s the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow that towns are after.

Thing I wonder about is: if it’s a safety issue, then why not do it all year? Why wait until the state is ready to dole out some cash ($4,000?!) to participate?

Officials from several Monmouth County towns report that they’ve written out several hundred tickets during the past campaign, this for various infractions, giving them an excuse to stop you; with the supposition that drivers are getting the message to buckle up before they put the car in drive.

I find it curious that they fail to mention the amount of money the tickets will bring in. “Court cases still pending” is the reason they give. My guess is that the 4 thousand the State kicks in goes a long way in allowing these towns to hit another revenue source.

But is a campaign such as this enough to make you want to put your seatbelt on when you drive?

I realize that most cars won’t let you drive unless you’re buckled in anyway.

But anytime the subject comes up, a good many of you say that the seatbelt is too confining, and that you know of folks who’ve been involved in accidents where the seatbelt would have been a hindrance instead of a help.

Seven Monmouth County towns received grants to participate in “Click It or Ticket,” a statewide campaign to enforce safety belt laws.

The New Jersey Division of Highway Traffic Safety awarded $4,000 in grants to police departments in Atlantic Highlands, Eatontown, Freehold Township, Middletown, Neptune Township, Spring Lake Heights Borough and Union Beach, among others across the state.

During the May 20 to June 2 grant period, Middletown issued 453 tickets, 104 of which were for seat belt violations.

The state requires departments to report all tickets issued, not just those for seat belt infractions, for where the grant funds were used, according to several police departments.

Eatontown police officer Chris Bartlett said the department totaled 215 tickets during the grant program and officers were assigned to go out in four-hour blocks to check for seatbelts, issue tickets and inform the public about wearing safety belts.

Union Beach police Traffic Safety Sgt. Charles Ervin said officers issued 130 tickets during the grant period, but added that there should be a year-round enforcement effort.

“I wish there was more of an effort [of seatbelt enforcement] on a year-round basis,” said Ervin, adding that some years the department has participated in the “Click It or Ticket” campaign when they didn’t receive funds.

(They why not just do it. Proving the point that it’s all about the money and little to do with safety.)

Neptune Township police Capt. Andrew Leather said this is the sixth year the department participated in the program. He said officers involved in the grant program enforcement issued 195 summonses.

“[The campaign] promotes awareness of a safety issue,” Leather said.

(No it doesn't. It promotes another revenue stream for the individual towns!)

According to the Division of Highway Traffic Safety, Click It or Ticket campaign increases the number of people wearing a seat belt. The state's seat belt usage rate is slightly more than 88 percent, which is 3 percent higher than the nationwide rate, the Division of Highway Traffic Safety reported.

Middletown, Eatontown, Union Beach and Neptune Township, police departments said they did not have to use any funds beyond the $4,000 grant money to execute the Click It or Ticket campaign, and they were unable to determine how much money came from the tickets, as the court process has not completed for all summonses.

Atlantic Highlands, Freehold Township and Spring Lake Heights did not provide the number of summonses issued in their towns.

I mean, really, how much more could it cost? If it’s so important as a safety issue, money shouldn’t be the matter.

I’m not buying the “safety” aspect of “Click it or Ticket”.

Sorry, just like the concept of red light cameras being all about safety, “Click it or Ticket” is just another money maker!

Did “Click it or Ticket” convince you to buckle up when you drive?

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