“The cost of not wearing seat belts is far greater than a ticket or fine,” said TxDOT Corpus Christi District Engineer Lonnie Gregorcyk, P.E. “Simply put, a seat belt could save your life. Public awareness is working, but we still see some teenagers, pickup truck passengers and rural Texans who aren’t buckling up.”
Taking a cue from LBJ’s leadership, Texas has made seat belt safety a major priority and is proud to be one of the most buckled up states in the union.
When the Click It or Ticket campaign began in 2002, only 76 percent of Texans buckled up. Today, 94 percent are wearing seat belts.
Texas law requires all occupants of a vehicle, including back seat passengers, to wear a seat belt. Each unbuckled occupant faces a ticket and fine up to $200, plus court costs. Texas passed its first law mandating seat belt use in 1985.
Despite an increase in seat belt compliance, more work remains to be done. Initial TxDOT figures from 2012 indicate traffic-related fatalities in Texas are up by 11 percent. In 2012, there were 3,400 fatalities due to traffic crashes across the state.
Statistics also show only 82 percent of pickup passengers buckle up compared to more than 91 percent of passengers riding in cars. Pickups also are more likely than passenger cars to roll over or eject unrestrained occupants in a crash.
As part of the Click It or Ticket initiative, law enforcement officials across the state will be looking for, and ticketing, unbuckled drivers and passengers in an effort to raise safety awareness and prevent fatalities.
This year’s campaign enforcement period is May 20-June 2. Last year, more than 21,200 seat belt citations were issued during the Click It or Ticket campaign.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates the Click It or Ticket campaign has saved nearly 3,700 lives and prevented more than 50,000 serious injuries since its launch. The increase in seat belt usage also has saved an estimated $10 billion in wages and productivity losses, medical expenses, insurance premiums, taxes and other costs.