TEXAS- The Texas Department of Transportation’s "Buckle Up in Your Truck" campaign kicks off today to remind pickup truck drivers and their passengers about the importance of using seat belts every time they get in a vehicle.
While seat belt use across the state is seeing record highs among people in cars, people in pickup trucks are still not using their seat belts regularly. TxDOT is launching a summer campaign focusing on those pickup truck drivers and passengers to ensure that all Texas motorists are buckled up.
Safety officials attribute lower seat belt use among truck drivers and passengers to a false sense of security in larger vehicles and the incorrect belief that seat belts aren’t necessary for short trips.
“Pickup truck drivers and passengers tend to be younger and male, and they are not getting the message that seat belts save lives,” said Carol Rawson, TxDOT’s Traffic Operations Division Director. “In fact, crashes involving pickup trucks can be particularly deadly because of the tendency for the trucks to roll over and for occupants to be thrown from the vehicles unless they are buckled up.”
Studies have shown that wearing a seat belt reduces the risk of fatal injury by 45 percent in passenger cars. That number increases to 60 percent for pickups due to their likelihood of rolling over in a crash. According to TxDOT, one out of every two pickup truck drivers killed in a traffic crash was not buckled up.
Despite an overall downward trend in fatalities between 2003 and 2009, traffic crashes remain the leading cause of death for those between one and 44 years of age in Texas. On average, the number of trucks involved in fatal crashes exceeded the number of passenger cars by 20 percent. In 2009 in Texas, more than 3,000 people died in fatal collisions on Texas streets and highways, and just under half were not buckled up.
Fines and court costs for failing to fasten your seat belt can add up to $250 or more. It’s not just drivers that must buckle up—state law also requires passengers in the front and back seat to buckle up. Visit www.texasclickitorticket.com  for more information.