May 2018 marks the 16th anniversary of “Click It or Ticket,” a campaign urging Texans to buckle up. When it launched in 2002, only 76 percent of Texans used their seat belts. Today nearly 92 percent buckle up. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that since its inception 16 years ago, the Texas “Click It or Ticket” campaign has saved 5,473 lives, prevented more than 95,500 serious injuries and saved Texas more than $20.7 billion in related economic costs.
Deaths among people not wearing seat belts decreased 8 percent from 2016 to 2017, but the campaign reminding Texans to buckle up is more important than ever. While nearly 92 percent are buckling up, 8 percent still don’t. Even fewer Texans buckle up at night. Last year, the number of drivers and front seat passengers not wearing seat belts increased by almost 50 percent from day to night. Fifty-seven percent of the 929 unbelted fatalities occurred at night. That’s why the “Click It or Ticket” campaign to remind Texans to buckle up—both day and night—is more important than ever.
Seat belts save lives. Wearing a seat belt helps keep you from being ejected in a crash and increases your chances of surviving by 45 percent in a passenger vehicle and up to 60 percent in a pickup truck.
In Texas, the law requires everyone in a vehicle to buckle up or face fines and court costs up to $200. Children younger than 8 years must be in a child safety seat or booster seat unless they’re taller than 4 feet 9 inches. If they aren’t properly restrained, the driver faces fines up to $250 plus court costs.
As they do each year during the “Click It or Ticket” campaign, law enforcement officials throughout Texas are working to increase seat belt use. From May 21 to June 3, 2018 they’ll ramp up their enforcement efforts to ticket drivers and passengers not wearing their seat belts, especially at night. Memorial Day falls in the middle of this time period and marks the traditional start of summer, when many people take to the road to enjoy the long weekend with friends and family.
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