Sheriff advises motorists: buckle up passengers in the back seats

NEWARK, NJ — Sheriff Armando Fontoura advised motorists via press release to continue to invest in their safety by buckling up in both the front and back seats of the car while traveling.

In 2017, 635 people died in New Jersey as a result of motor vehicle crashes, marking the deadliest year in a decade, and half of those fatalities involved drivers and passengers who were not wearing seatbelts.

“The front seat belt usage rate in New Jersey is currently at over 91 percent,” Fontoura said. “However, passengers riding in rear seats are only buckling up at a rate of 39 percent.”

A recent statistical report, issued by the Advocates for Highway and Auto safety, a coalition of consumer groups and insurance companies based out of Washington, D.C., revealed that motor vehicle crashes cost New Jersey $12.9 billion a year, in addition to the loss of lives.

“While New Jersey laws fall short of allowing officers to stop a vehicle whose passengers aren’t wearing rear seat belts that shouldn’t be an excuse not to wear this vital safety equipment,” Fontoura said. “With motor vehicle fatalities on the upswing, bucking up the driver and all passengers in seat belts should be the first order of business upon entering a motor vehicle, even before you put the key in the ignition.”