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 launched its 14th annual statewide “Click It or Ticket” campaign today with a news conference at the Angelina County Sheriff’s Office. Representatives from ACSO, Lufkin, Hudson and Diboll Police departments, Lufkin Fire, DPS, City of Lufkin and TxDOT participated in the news conference that promoted the statewide campaign designed to augment the federal, stepped-up enforcement period, May 18-31.
John Barton, TxDOT deputy executive director, said the Click It or Ticket campaign is designed to educate and support everyone to how important and life-saving wearing a seat belt can be.
“It’s heartbreaking to know lives are being lost on Texas roadways because people are still not buckling up. 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.