Irene Webster, Traffic Safety Specialist with the Texas Department of Transportation joined Michael DelGiorno in the KPYN studio this morning to tell us about the 15th anniversary of “Click It or Ticket,” a campaign reminding Texans to buckle up day and night, and every time they get in a vehicle.
What is “Click it or Ticket”?
“Click it or Ticket” is a national public education program aimed at saving lives by encouraging people to use seat belts. It’s sponsored by the National Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The Texas Department of Transportation started participating in the campaign in 2002.
Why is the “Click it or Ticket” program important?
While about 9 out of 10 Texans buckle up, some people still aren’t getting the message. Passengers are less likely than drivers to wear seat belts, and people are less likely to wear seat belts at night. Passengers in trucks continue to use seat belts less often than passengers in cars. Also, the ongoing education about seat belt laws is very important because thousands of young Texans each year become new drivers, and a steady stream of people are moving into the state.
Has “Click it or Ticket” made a difference?
Yes, in the last 15 years, the Texas “Click it or Ticket” campaign and the mandatory seat belt law has worked. Because they were wearing seat belts, 5,068 more people are alive today. When the campaign began in 2002, only 76 percent of Texans were wearing seat-belts. Today, nearly 92 percent wear them.
Why is it so important that people wear seat belts?
Seat belts increase the chances of surviving a serious crash by 45 percent. In trucks, that number jumps to 60 percent because pick-ups are more likely than passenger cars to roll over in a crash. Seat belts help keep occupants from being ejected.
What is the law in Texas regarding seat belts?
Everyone in a vehicle, no matter how old or where seated, must be properly restrained. Unbelted drivers and adult passengers can face fines and court costs up to $200 each. Children younger than 8 years 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.
What can I do if I see an unrestrained child in a vehicle?
You can contact the “Please Be Seated” hotline (903) 799-1400. The Texas Department of Transportation is not law enforcement, so we can’t write them out a ticket, but we will send them a letter explaining the dangers of not having their children properly restrained in their vehicle and remind them that they can be ticketed if children are seen riding in their vehicle not in a car seat.
Will there be additional enforcement during the campaign?
Yes, the Texas Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Texas Department of Public Safety along with local police and sheriffs’ departments have joined forces and from May 22nd to June 4th, they will be stepping up their efforts to ticket anyone who isn’t wearing a seat belt. They will be issuing citations, NO warnings!
What are the main messages of the campaign?
- Seat belts save lives. There’s no good excuse for not wearing a seat belt.
- The number of people killed and not wearing a seat belt increased by 9 percent last year.
- Fewer people are wearing their seat belts at night and more people are dying because of it. More fatal crashes happen at night (between 6:00 p.m. – 6:00 a.m.)
- In the last 15 years, the Texas “Click it or Ticket” campaign and the mandatory seat belt law has worked: 5,068 more people are alive today because they wore a seat belt.