We all know we’re supposed to buckle up in the car, whether we’re the driver or a passenger. Warnings of all kinds remind us to fasten our seat belts, including lights, bells, dings, verbal warnings—and sometimes our cars won’t even start until the seat belts are fastened.
But what about other people who are sometimes in our cars? You know, the people or children in our back seats. Are there any bells, dings, and warnings to remind rear passengers to buckle up? Not necessarily.
Sometimes it’s not top of mind for drivers to ask or double check to see if passengers in the back of their vehicle are buckled in. That’s where we come in—to remind everyone that it’s ILLEGAL to be unbuckled in either the front or back seat, and it’s punishable by fines and fees up to $200.1
Children younger than 8 years old 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.2
The safest place for children to ride in a vehicle is the back seat, and all children should be securely fastened in an appropriate safety seat in the back of the vehicle until they reach the age of 13.3
State and national data back up TxDOT’s “Click It or Ticket” campaign, which focuses on the laws mandating drivers and front and rear passengers to buckle up.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2014 there were 9,385 unbelted passenger vehicle occupants killed in crashes on our nation’s roads. In fact, from 2010 to 2014, they saved nearly 63,000 lives. And in 2014, an additional 2,814 lives could have been saved if all unrestrained occupants involved in fatal crashes had worn their seat belts4
If that’s not enough, these facts will drive home the importance of everyone buckling up at all times:5
Unbelted backseat passengers can become projectiles in a car crash. They can be tossed around inside the vehicle and can even injure or kill those in the front seat.
Riders in the back seat who use lap and shoulder belts are 44 percent more likely to survive in a crash than unrestrained occupants in passenger cars. In passenger vans and SUVs, the likelihood increases to 73 percent.
In 2015, there were 2,369 motor vehicle traffic crashes that involved unrestrained occupants who sustained fatal or serious injuries. Overall in 2015, 3,518 traffic fatalities occurred in our state.
In 2015, of the 467 pickup truck drivers killed in Texas in a traffic crash, 216 were not wearing a seat belt.
Wearing a seat belt helps keep occupants from being ejected in a crash and increases the chances of surviving by 45 percent. In pickup trucks, that number jumps to 60 percent, as those vehicles are twice as likely as cars to roll over in a crash.
PUEBLO, Colorado — Over the next few weeks throughout Texas a familiar face will tout the safety benefits of wearing a seat belt and encourage viewers to buckle up. Shorty Gorham, a member of the Professional Bull Riders Dickies DuraBullfighters, is being featured in a Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) “Click It or Ticket” PSA, which will air from May 23 – June 5 on network affiliates across the state.
“Now I can help keep cowboys from getting hurt or killed both in and out of the arena,” says Gorham in the PSA.
The “Click It or Ticket” spot is part of a partnership between the country’s premiere bull riding organization, the Professional Bull Riders (PBR), and TxDOT. The partnership includes use of PBR footage and photos in PSA campaigns statewide through 2016 plus TxDOT brand exposure at PBR Touring Pro Division events in Texas from May to August.
“The PBR enjoys an incredible brand loyalty relationship with its fans,” said Karen Purcell, senior vice president/media director of Sherry Matthews Advocacy Marketing, the agency of record for TxDOT’s “Click It or Ticket” campaign. “We think the sports’ ‘cowboy’ personalities will resonate well in several key Texas markets recording the highest fatality rates for non-seat belt use.”
Texas state law now requires drivers and all passengers in a vehicle to be secured by a seat belt, including adult passengers in the back seat. Anyone unbuckled can be issued a ticket. For more information, visit http:/texasclickitorticket.com.
TxDOT is taking the “Click It or Ticket” message all across Texas. See the press event schedule below. Locations and dates are subject to change.
May 3 – Austin – State Capitol South Lawn – 10:30 am
May 4 – San Antonio – Main Plaza – 10:30 am
May 5 – Laredo – Laredo Energy Arena – 10:30 am
May 6 – Harlingen – Iwo Jima Monument at Marine Military Academy – 10:30 am
May 9 – Midland – Petroleum Museum – 10:30 am
May 10 – El Paso – Upper Tom Lea Park – 10:30 am
May 11 – Lubbock – Buddy Holly Center – 10:30 am
May 12 – Wichita Falls – The Falls in Lucy Park – 10:30 am
May 16 – Houston – Houston City Hall – 10:30 am
May 17 – Beaumont – Spindletop-Gladys City Boomtown – 10:30 am
May 18 – Waco – Waco Suspension Bridge – 10:30 am
May 19 – Tyler – Tyler Rose Garden, Queen’s Court – 10:30 am
May 23 – Dallas – Dallas City Hall Plaza – 10:30 am
View and download all of the press materials here.
Whether you are in the front seat or back, wearing your seat belt is the single most effective action you can take to protect yourself and your unborn child in the event of a crash. Being buckled up helps keep you safe inside your vehicle during a crash. If you ride without a seat belt, you could be thrown out of your car or collide with other passengers.
Seat Belt Guide
Secure the lap belt below your belly so that it fits snugly across your hips and pelvic bone.
Place the shoulder belt across your chest (between your breasts) and away from your neck.
Never place the shoulder belt under your arm or behind your back
The Click It or Ticket enforcement mobilization is taking place all over the state from May 18th through May 31st, 2015. Law enforcement all over Texas will be stepping up their efforts to ticket motorists who are not wearing a seat belt. Whether you drive a big pickup truck or a tiny sedan, no one is above the law.
Your seat belt is the single most effective safety device in your vehicle. If you’re traveling at 50 mph and stop suddenly, your unbuckled body will keep moving at 50 mph. Your seat belt is designed to keep you from being thrown into the dashboard or windshield — or even onto the road. Airbags can be big lifesavers. But without seat belts, they can be ineffective and even dangerous. In a crash, seat belts ensure you’re not thrown into a fast-opening airbag—a force that could injure or kill you. Driver or passenger, front seat or back, state law requires everyone in the vehicle to be buckled up. Not buckling up could cost you up to $200 in court costs and fines. Or even worse, it could cost you your life.
In 2012, seat belts saved an estimated 12,174 people from dying. However, an additional 3,031 lives could also have been saved if passengers age 5 and older involved in fatal crashes had worn their seat belts.
Twenty four years ago, before we had campaigns like Click It or Ticket, I tragically learned this lesson in the hardest way possible. On April 1, 1990, my first wife Ellen and I were driving back to my Navy duty station in Corpus Christi after a weekend with friends at my alma mater, Rice University. While driving, we hit a blinding rain storm heading south on Texas 35. As we were driving, a car heading northbound lost control. The car spun around and hit us head on.
There were three people in the car that hit us, an uncle and his two nephews. Tragically, all died, none were wearing a seatbelt. My wife, Ellen was also killed in that crash as a result of laying down in the back seat to take a nap. It was almost 25 years ago, before seat belt campaigns were in full force. I was the only person in either vehicle wearing a seatbelt, I was the only survivor.
Today, thanks to Click It or Ticket and enforcement of seatbelt laws, seatbelt use has risen dramatically and hundreds of thousands of lives have been saved. However, we can save even more lives by increasing awareness of the importance of wearing a seatbelt.
For the first time in five years, fatalities for unrestrained passenger vehicle occupants have gone up. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2012, over 10,000 passengers in the US who did not wear seatbelts died. As a result of these fatalities, local authorities are stepping up enforcement and cracking down on those who don’t wear their seat belts.
Closer to home, the Texas Department of Transportation (TXDOT) has found that in 2011, 46% of Texans killed in crashes were not wearing their seat belts. On the flip side, of the 762,778 Texans involved in crashes where there were no injuries, 97% were wearing their seat belt.
I’m sharing my story in an effort to help save lives. If Ellen had been wearing a seatbelt, she might be here with us today. If the folks in the car that hit us had been wearing seatbelts, they too might have been saved. Wearing seatbelts saves lives.
I applaud the efforts of NHTSA, TXDOT and our local law enforcement to do their part to enforce the laws and help save lives. The rest is up to each of us. The facts don’t lie. My story and thousands of others like it are strong evidence and a strong reminder – SEATBELTS SAVE LIVES. Do your part and wear a seatbelt while in a moving car.
Rep. Pete Olson, a Republican, represents Texas District 22 in the U.S. House of Representatives.
When the “Click It or Ticket” campaign began in 2002, more than a decade ago, only three out of every four Texans buckled up. Texas currently ranks seventh in the nation for overall seat belt use, and 94 percent of Texan motorists now buckle up.
But who is still not buckling up?
– Men use seat belts less often than women.
– Teens and young adults are not wearing their seat belts.
– Passengers are less likely to buckle up than drivers.
– Pickup truck drivers are less likely to buckle up than other drivers.
– Pickup passengers are the LEAST likely to use a safety belt: Only 80 percent of pickup passengers buckle up compared to 92 percent of passengers in all other types of vehicles!
Whether you’re the driver, front seat passenger, or back seat passenger, you have to buckle up.
It’s a state law. And not doing so could cost you up to $200. Want an even better reason?
Your seat belt is your number one best defense in case of a crash.
A DEADLY OVERSIGHT.
If you forget to buckle up or choose not to, you’re putting yourself in harm’s way. It’s common that unbuckled passengers get thrown from their vehicle, which all too often rolls over and crushes them.
BACK SEAT DANGER.
Unbelted back seat passengers can become human projectiles in a car crash. They can be tossed around inside the vehicle and even injure or kill those in the front seat.
ATTENTION ALL ADULTS.
Texas law requires drivers and all passengers in a vehicle to be secured by a seat belt. Yes, that means unbuckled adult passengers in the back seat can face fines and court costs of up to $200.
KIDS CAN COST, TOO.
Children younger than eight years old must be in a child safety seat or booster seat unless they are taller than 4 feet 9 inches. Fines can be as high as $250 plus court costs.