Dad telling it like it is
Seat bet violators raaw lb tietet By MICHAEL BEAUCHAMP Courier-News Courier-News Courier-News Staff Writer State police are buckling down on motorists motorists who don't buckle up, but municipal police say they are not giving out any more summonses summonses for seat-belt seat-belt seat-belt violations than usual Although New Jersey's mandatory seat-belt seat-belt seat-belt law went into effect in March 1985, only about two of every five motorists are complying. complying. In an effort to improve compliance, state police increased the number of tickets they handed out to beltless drivers from about 680 a month in 1985 to nearly 2,000 a month last year, said Sgt. Joe Budzinski of the state police traffic bureau. "People aren't complying with the law, and it's just not acceptable," Budzinski said. New Jersey was the second state in the nation to enact a mandatory seat-belt seat-belt seat-belt law. Unlike New York's law, the first in the country, country, motorists on New Jersey roads can be issued tickets for non-compliance non-compliance non-compliance only if they are issued a ticket for another violation. Budzinski said from the time the law went into effect until the end of 1985, state police issued 6,122 summonses for failure to use seat belts. The 1986 figure rose to 14,875, and 23,636 summonses were issued last year. He said the growing number of citations probably were a result of "a little more aggressive enforcement and more noncompliance." noncompliance." Fanwood Police Chief Anthony J. Parenti said the number of citations given by municipal municipal police departments in general is not growing. Parenti, president of the New Jersey Traffic Traffic Officers Association, attributed this to a difference in enforcement methods used by the state police, who deal with vast numbers of motorists on state highways, and municipal municipal police, who often deal with the same people each day. State police tend to give summonses for secondary offenses such as seat-belt seat-belt seat-belt violations, violations, he said, while municipal police often give only a warning. Parenti said his department has given out only about a dozen summonses a year for seat-belt seat-belt seat-belt violations since the law was enacted. "Compliance is what we're after," he said. "The last thing we want is to give them a summons and have them hate the law. If we find out the warning system isn't working, then we will give a summons." Parenti said the warning system would not work for state police because they rarely ever see the same driver twice. Officer Joseph Brennan of the Plainfield Police Division's traffic bureau said the number number of seat-belt seat-belt seat-belt summonses given by his department department also has stayed about the same, but he did not attribute this to a warning system. "When they see it, (a seat-belt seat-belt seat-belt violation) our officers will issue a summons," he said. Brennan said state police give out more tickets for seat-belt seat-belt seat-belt violations because they are more involved with motor vehicle enforcement enforcement than municipal police, who have countless other duties. Bridgewater Police Capt. Robert Sanders and interim Chief Joseph Manghisi of the Clinton Police Department also said there has not been an increase in the number of seat-belt seat-belt seat-belt summonses given out by their departments. Associated Press reports were included in this article.