The following is a press release from the Texarkana Texas Police Department
TEXARKANA — Unfortunately, safety benefits are not enough to convince some people to always wear a seat belt as total unbelted fatalities increased 9 percent from 2015 to 2016. In Texas, it’s the law for both drivers and passengers to wear a seat belt in both the front and back seat of the vehicle. As part of the annual “Click It or Ticket” campaign, the Texarkana Texas Police Department will join other law enforcement officers across Texas as they increase their efforts day and night to identify and issue tickets to drivers and passengers not wearing a seat belt. The increased enforcement starts May 22 and runs through June 4.
“Police officers don’t enjoy giving anyone a ticket, but these seat belt enforcement periods help save lives by reminding people to wear their seat belt,” said Chief Dan Shiner. “We’re going to specifically step up enforcement during nighttime hours because that’s when seat belt use drops and fatalities increase.”
When the “Click It or Ticket” campaign launched in 2002, only 76 percent of Texans used their seat belts. Today, nearly 92 percent buckle up. But 8 percent still don’t, and that number doubles to 16 percent at night, when most fatalities occur. Last year, 62 percent of the 994 unbelted fatalities occurred at night—from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m.
Wearing a seat belt helps keep an occupant from being ejected in a crash and increases the chances of surviving by 45 percent in a passenger vehicle and up to 60 percent in a pickup truck. In Texas, the law requires everyone in a vehicle – including those in the back seat – to buckle up or face fines and court costs up to $200. Children younger than 8 years 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 Texas “Click It or Ticket” campaign has saved 5,068 lives in the last 15 years and prevented 86,359 people from serious injury in traffic crashes. Properly wearing a seat belt is the most effective way to prevent death or serious injury in the event of a crash, and it’s the law.