Police officers across Long Island will be cracking down on drivers and passengers not wearing seatbelts for the next two weeks as a part of the annual “Buckle Up New York” campaign.

The effort, which includes seatbelts checkpoints and added patrols, is part of the nationwide “Click It or Ticket” campaign coordinated with law enforcement agencies from coast to coast May 20 through June 2.

“Fastening your seat belt takes seconds and it can save your life,” Suffolk County Police Commissioner Ed Webber said. “We have seen first-hand the deadly consequences of what happens when someone chooses not to buckle up.”

Fifty two percent of the 21,253 vehicle passengers killed in 2011 were not wearing their seat belts at the time of the crash, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

New York State has had a seat belt compliance rate of 90 or better for the past three years, according to the state Department of Motor Vehicles. Still, the campaign continues until every driver and passenger buckles up.

Besides Suffolk police, agencies that also have announced joining in the crackdown include state Troopers, Nassau police, Long Beach and Glen Cove city police and more than a dozen local village police departments.

New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law makes drivers responsible for passengers younger than 16 who are not wearing seatbelts.

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Timothy Bolger is the Editor in Chief of the Long Island Press who’s been working to uncover unreported stories since shortly after it launched in 2003. When he’s not editing, getting hassled by The Man or fielding cold calls to the newsroom, he covers crime, general interest and political news in addition to reporting longer, sometimes investigative features. He won’t be happy until everyone is as pissed off as he is about how screwed up Lawn Guyland is.