FASTEN YOUR SEAT BELT
We all know we’re supposed to buckle up, whether we’re the driver or a passenger. Warnings of all kinds remind us to fasten our seat belts, including lights, bells, chimes, dings and sometimes our vehicles won’t even start until seat belts are fastened.
But what about the other people in our vehicles? You know, your friends or family in the back seat. Are there any bells, dings, and warnings to remind rear passengers to buckle up? Not necessarily.
Sometimes drivers may not ask or double check to see if their back-seat passengers 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.
Children younger than 8 years old must be in a child car 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.
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 13.1
State and national data support TxDOT’s Click It or Ticket campaign, which focuses on enforcing laws mandating that everyone in the vehicle is buckled up.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2018 there were 9,778 unbelted passenger vehicle occupants killed in crashes on our nation’s roads. In fact, seat belts saved nearly 15,000 lives in 2017, and an additional 2,549 lives could have been saved if all unrestrained occupants involved in fatal crashes had worn their seat belts.2
If that’s not enough, these facts will drive home the importance of everyone buckling up at all times:
- Unbelted backseat passengers can become projectiles in a crash. They can be tossed around inside the vehicle and can even injure or kill people in the front seat.
- In 2020, there were 2,734 motor vehicle traffic crashes in Texas that involved unrestrained occupants who sustained fatal or serious injuries.3
- In 2020, of the 492 pickup truck drivers killed in Texas in a crash, 235 were not wearing a seat belt. 4
- Wearing a seat belt helps keep occupants from being ejected in a crash and increases the chances of surviving by 45%. In pickup trucks, that number jumps to 60%, as those vehicles are twice as likely as cars to roll over in a crash.5
1(NHTSA’s Car Seat Recommendations for Children)
2(NHTSA 2018 Traffic Safety Facts, June 2020)
3(Texas Peace Officer’s Crash Report (CR-3) March, 2021)
5(NHTSA Seat Belt Statistics)