EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — With health and safety a top priority in 2020, TxDOT reminds motorists of one of the simplest and easiest precautions everyone can take to protect themselves and their loved ones: buckling up.
TxDOT is launching the statewide “Click it or Ticket” education and enforcement campaign this week.
“Our annual ‘Click It or Ticket’ campaign is about saving lives,” said TxDOT Executive Director James Bass.
“While almost 91% of Texans have gotten into the habit of using seat belts, there are still far too many motorists who are taking unnecessary chances by not buckling up. Whether you’re the driver or a passenger, wearing a seat belt — day and night — is the single most effective way to protect yourself from serious injury or death in a crash.”
According to TxDOT, in 2019, there were 925 traffic fatalities involving an unbuckled driver or passenger. While around 9 percent of Texans do not wear a seat belt, the lack of seat belt usage was reported in 42 percent of traffic fatalities for those people who had the option to use a seat belt.
Also in 2019, there were 22 motor vehicle traffic crashes in El Paso, in which unrestrained occupants sustained fatal or serious injuries. These crashes resulted in nine fatalities and 13 serious injuries.
In September, three young children were killed in a Northeast car crash and two siblings were seriously injured. The three children were not buckled in and were thrown from the car.
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.
Texas law requires everyone in a vehicle to be properly secured in the front or back seat or face fines and fees up to $200. Children younger than 8 years old must be restrained in a child safety seat or booster seat unless they are taller than 4 feet 9 inches. If a child isn’t secured, the driver faces fines of up to $250.
As we approach Thanksgiving and more drivers take to the road, authorities will step up enforcement of the state’s seat belt and child car seat laws.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the ‘Click It or Ticket’ initiative in Texas is estimated to have saved more than 6,234 lives, prevented more than 100,000 serious injuries and resulted in $23.6 billion in economic savings since the campaign began in 2002.