Thousands Saved by the Belt in Texas
This summer, Texas has a lot of reasons to celebrate—2,843, to be exact. In the last decade, more and more Texans have made the decision to buckle up.
According to the Texas Transportation Institute, the percentage of Texas citizens using seat belts has gone from 76 percent in 2001 to almost 94 percent today.
As a result, experts at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration report an estimated 2,843 fewer deaths, 48,000 fewer serious injuries, and a savings to the state of more than $10 billion in associated costs.
Much of the credit for getting Texans to buckle up goes to the Click It or Ticket campaign, now in its 10th year. For a decade now, the Texas Department of Transportation has worked with police and sheriffs’ departments, the Texas Department of Public Safety, and safety advocates around the state to get the word out about the benefits of buckling up—and the consequences when you don’t.
If you aren’t using a seat belt yourself or making sure your children are buckled up, the least of your worries is the $25 to $250 ticket. What should really scare you is what can happen if you aren’t buckled up and you get into a wreck.
Buckling your seat belt may seem like a small decision. But there are 2,843 people alive today who would tell you that it was the most important decision they ever made.
Even though our state has made great strides in getting drivers and passengers to use seat belts, there are still about a million Texans who don’t. TxDOT remains committed to getting ALL Texans into the habit of buckling 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. Wearing a seat belt reduces the risk of fatal injury by 45 percent, and in pickups, that number increases to 60 percent because pickup trucks are more likely to roll in a crash than cars.
Thousands of state troopers will join police officers and sheriffs’ deputies statewide for a stepped-up enforcement period between May 23 and June 5, including the Memorial Day holiday weekend, to ticket drivers and passengers who aren’t buckled up or who have not properly restrained their children. Remember—all passengers in the back seat must now be buckled up, and children younger than eight years old are required to ride in a child safety seat or booster seat unless they are taller than 4 feet 9 inches.
Law enforcement will be working overtime, not because they enjoy giving tickets, but because they’d much rather write you a ticket than have to explain to your family that you won’t be coming home. So no matter where you’re sitting in the vehicle, no matter how far you’re going, no matter what: Buckle up, Texas.