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Pa., N.J. cops to step up seat belt enforcement

Local police departments are about to step up their enforcement of seat belt laws.

The initiatives are part of the national "click it or ticket" campaign. State police in Pennsylvania and New Jersey say they will focus on motorists violating seat belt laws, and educate people about the importance of using seat belts and child safety seats.

The "click it or ticket" initiative runs statewide in Pennsylvania and New Jersey from Monday through June 2. Local police departments are also receiving grants to participate.

The campaign typically occurs in late May and early June, just before the summer travel season begins.

"Seat belts save thousands of lives every year, but far too many motorists are still not buckling up, especially at night when the risk of getting in a crash is even greater," Gary Poedubicky, acting director of the New Jersey Division of Highway Traffic Safety, said in a statement. "We want everyone to have a safe summer, but it requires an important step on the part of motorists – clicking that seat belt."

During last year's initiative, New Jersey law enforcement authorities issued 29,307 seat belt citations, 981 child restraint citations, 4,951 speeding citations and made 861 drunk driving arrests.

Pennsylvania State Police will offer free child safety seat inspections during the campaign, to teach parents how to properly install and use the seats.

"Traffic crashes are the leading cause of death and injury for children 15 and younger, and many of those tragedies occur because the child passenger is not properly restrained," State Police Commissioner Frank Noonan said in a statement.