May 2021 marks the 19th anniversary of “Click It or Ticket,” a campaign urging Texans to buckle up. Today, almost 91% of Texans use their seatbelts-only 76% did when the campaign launched in 2002. In 2020, the number of people who died while not wearing a seat belt increased by 16% over 2019, with 1,073 unbuckled drivers and passengers killed on Texas roadways.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates since its inception 19 years ago, “Click It or Ticket” has saved 6,234 lives, prevented more than 100,000 serious injuries and saved Texas more than $23.6 billion in related economic costs.
While almost 91% of Texans are buckling up, nearly 9% still don’t. That’s why the “Click It or Ticket” campaign to remind Texans to buckle up in the front and back seats, both day and night, is more important than ever.
Wearing a seat belt reduces the risk of dying by 45 percent for people in the front seat of passenger cars. For those in pickups, seat belts reduce the risk of dying by 60 percent since pickups are more likely to roll over than passenger vehicles. Your seat belt is designed to keep you from being thrown into the dashboard or windshield—or even onto the road. An airbag can be a big lifesaver. But without a seat belt, it can be ineffective and even dangerous. In a crash, a seat belt ensures you’re not thrown into a fast-opening airbag—a force that could injure or kill you. You may think your airbag is going to protect you, but it’s designed to work with seat belts, not to replace them.
Each year during the “Click It or Ticket” campaign, law enforcement throughout Texas works to increase seat belt use. From May 24 to June 6, 2021, they’ll ramp up enforcement efforts to ticket drivers and passengers not wearing their seat belts, especially at night. Memorial Day is a time when many people take to the road to enjoy time with friends and family. Be safe-buckle up.
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.