The Texas Department of Transportation reminds drivers that law enforcement officers across the state will be out in full force May 18-31 issuing tickets to drivers and passengers who are not wearing seat belts. Widely known as TxDOT’s annual “Click It or Ticket” campaign, the two-week enforcement period reminds all vehicle occupants that non-compliance with statewide seat belt and child safety seat laws can result in fines up to $250.
“We greatly appreciate the stepped-up efforts of our law enforcement partners during ‘Click It or Ticket,’ because we know seat belts save lives,” says John Barton, TxDOT deputy executive director. “I can’t imagine why anyone would risk getting pulled over and ticketed, let alone killed or injured. It only takes a few seconds to make sure everyone in your vehicle is buckled up. Do it for yourself and your loved ones, or else risk being fined or even losing a loved one.”
Texas law requires drivers and all passengers, including those in the back seat, to wear a seat belt or risk a ticket, fines and court costs up to $200 each. Children younger than 8 must be in a child safety seat or booster seat unless they are taller than 4 feet 9 inches. Fines issued to drivers for unrestrained children in their vehicle can be as high as $250 plus court costs.
Wearing a seat belt helps keep occupants from being ejected in a crash and increases the chances of surviving by 45 percent. In pickup trucks, that number jumps to 60 percent, as those vehicles are twice as likely as cars to roll over in a crash.
Last year, 2,587 vehicle crashes occurred in Texas in which unrestrained vehicle occupants sustained fatal or serious injuries. Of the more than 3,500 motorists killed in traffic crashes in Texas last year, 44 percent were not wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash.