Memorial Day is coming and Carolyn McDowell, Texas AgriLife Extension Service San Saba County Extension agent, wants to remind drivers and passengers that it is almost time for the annual Click It or Ticket campaign. This year, the campaign has new seat belt and child safety seat laws to back it up.
The new seat belt law requires ALL passengers in both the front and back seat to buckle up. The new child safety seat law requires children under 8, unless taller than 4’9", to ride in a child safety seat system, which includes booster seats. Although the adult seat belt law has been enforced since it became effective on September 1, 2009, the child safety seat law included a grace period that will end on June 1, 2010, when strict enforcement will begin.
More people in Texas are wearing their seat belts, but we are still losing too many lives from traffic crashes. Although seat belts have been proven to save lives, more than half of those killed in crashes were not buckled up. Groups that are still not consistently wearing their seat belts include 16-20 year olds, pickup truck drivers and passengers, and male drivers and passengers.
Staying inside the vehicle is the key to surviving a crash. Statistics from 2008 showed that 77 percent of occupants who were thrown from their vehicle were killed. Wearing your seat belt is the best way to increase your odds of survival in a crash. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, seat belts are credited with saving 255,115 lives from 1975 through 2008.
The Click It or Ticket campaign seeks to reach teens through a website (http://seatbeltsrock.com/) where teens can create a personalized video to share with their friends. The video follows teens as they begin a road trip and includes the names of their friends on billboards they pass along the way. Teens who participate will be entered into a contest to win prizes.
The enforcement time for this year’s campaign by the Texas Department of Transportation is May 24 through June 6. During that time, extra law enforcement will be on the roads to enforce the new laws, with the goal of saving lives.
Save yourself the time, the money, the hassle, and potentially your life. Buckle your safety belt. Wear it properly, and wear it every time you get into a vehicle. Spread the word – seat belts save lives!