From Staff Reports
The simple, law-abiding habit of wearing a seat belt can protect thousands of Texans from serious injury or death. Yet, many people still refuse. For them, the Texas Department of Transportation is launching its 14th annual statewide “Click It or Ticket” campaign to augment the federal, stepped-up enforcement period, May 18-31.
“It’s heartbreaking to know lives are being lost on Texas roadways because people are still not buckling up,” said John Barton, TxDOT deputy executive director. “These motorists have friends and families who will never get over the loss of their loved one. It’s really simple. Seat belts save lives. Every single individual in a vehicle needs to be buckled up.”
If the deadly consequences aren’t enough to motivate seat belt use, fines and court costs can total up to $200. In Texas, the law requires everyone in a vehicle to be buckled up, including back seat passengers.
In 2014, 2,587 motor vehicle traffic crashes occurred in Texas in which unrestrained vehicle occupants sustained fatal or serious injuries. Wearing a seat belt helps keep occupants from being ejected in a crash and increases the chances of surviving by 45 percent. In pickup trucks, that number jumps to 60 percent, as those vehicles are twice as likely as cars to roll over in a crash.
The “Click It or Ticket” campaign, combined with enforcement, is credited with motivating millions of motorists to always use their seat belts. Only 76 percent of Texans used seat belts when the campaign started in 2002. Today, 9 out of 10 Texans buckle up. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that since its inception, the “Click It or Ticket” campaign in Texas has resulted in 4,319 fewer traffic fatalities while preventing 72,926 serious injuries and saving more than $16.7 billion in related economic costs.