TxDOT estimates Click it or Ticket has saved thousands of lives over last two decades
WACO, Texas (KWTX) - It’s been 20 years since Texas joined the national Click It or Ticket campaign, and while TxDOT said seatbelt use has increased, there’s still work to be done.
TxDOT said the 20th anniversary of this campaign is an important milestone, but more important is the number of lives saved from the campaign.
Jake Smith, public information officer for the Waco District, said estimates nearly 7,000 lives have been saved and 120,000 serious injuries prevented.
However, data from TxDOT shows one in ten people in the state are still going without a seatbelt, and more than 1,200 people died in unrestrained crashes last year. That’s up 14 percent from 2020.
While Smith said TxDOT’s focus is building and maintaining roadways, that’s not their only goal.
“Safety is our top priority,” Smith said. “But another part of safety is education outreach and just talking and reminding and encouraging Texans and motorists to like to put on seatbelts, make sure you’re buckled up.”
Smith said putting on your seatbelt only takes a few seconds, and it is the single most effective way to prevent serious injury or death in the event of a crash.
Heading into the Memorial Day weekend, Texas law enforcement officials are stepping up patrols to ensure people are wearing their seatbelts and getting to their destinations safely.
Texas DPS Sergeant Bryan Washko said he’s seen hundreds of crashes in his career, and he said there are many cases where someone could have survived if they were wearing a seatbelt.
“It’s unfortunate, we have to tell their family members that when they always ask, well, if they had their seatbelt on, what do you think they would have survived? Absolutely,” Washko said. “So we stress out there that, you know, you don’t get a second chance if you’re involved in the crash to put the seatbelt on.”
Washko said for that reason, you’re likely to get a citation if you or any of your passengers aren’t wearing a seatbelt when you’re pulled over.
The extra enforcement runs through June 5.
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