Law enforcement will begin paying special attention to unrestrained motorists and vehicle occupants during the annual Click It or Ticket campaign that begins Monday.
The enforcement period is from May 22 until June 4, according to a news release from the Texas Department of Transportation. Texas law enforcement personnel will be actively ticketing drivers and their passengers who are not buckled up, or whose children are not in the appropriate booster seat or child passenger safety seat.
During 2016, Texas officials reported that 994 people died because they weren’t wearing seat belts, an increase of 9 percent over the 908 people who died in 2015 because they were not wearing seat belts.
Wearing a seat belt helps keep occupants from being ejected in a crash and increases the chances of surviving by 45 percent in a car, and up to 60 percent in a truck, the release said.
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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 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.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that since its inception 15 years ago, the campaign has resulted in 5,068 fewer traffic fatalities, the news release said.
“Wearing a seat belt is the single most important step you can take to protect yourself in a crash, and in Texas it’s the law,” said James Bass, Texas Department of Transportation executive director. “People make a lot of excuses for not buckling up, but those excuses will not save your life or prevent you from getting a ticket.”