Cpl. Sherrie Carruth of the Odessa Police Dept. and Lorenzo Rivas of the Odessa Fire Dept. discuss the campaign on Good Morning West Texas.
Before the Click It or Ticket campaign began in Texas in 2002, only 76.1 percent of the state's population was buckling up. Thanks to a decade of increased enforcement and an extensive public education campaign about the life-saving benefits of seat belts, Texans are using seat belts in record numbers. According to the Texas Transportation Institute, 93.84 percent of drivers and passengers now buckle up. Experts at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimate that this increase over the past 10 years has resulted in 2,843 fewer traffic fatalities, 48,000 fewer serious injuries, and a savings to the state of more than $10 billion in associated costs.
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. In 2009 in Texas, more than 3,000 people died in fatal collisions on Texas streets and highways, and just under half were not buckled up. Wearing a seat belt reduces the risk of fatal injury by 45 percent, and in pickups, that number increases to 60 percent, due to the fact that pickup trucks are more likely to roll over in a crash than passenger cars.
To ensure that Texans continue complying with seat belt laws, thousands of state troopers will join police officers and sheriffs' deputies statewide between May 23 and June 5, including the Memorial Day holiday weekend, to ticket drivers and passengers who aren't buckled up.
Fines for failing to fasten your seat belt can add up to $250, plus court costs. It's not just drivers that must buckle up-state law also requires passengers in the front and back seat to buckle up.