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May 2022 marks the 20th anniversary of “Click It or Ticket,” a campaign urging Texans to buckle up. In 2021, the number of people who died while not wearing a seat belt increased by 14% over 2020, with 1,226 unbuckled drivers and passengers killed on Texas roadways.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates since its inception 20 years ago, “Click It or Ticket” has saved 6,972 lives, prevented more than 120,000 serious injuries and saved Texas more than $26.3 billion in related economic costs.
Wearing a seat belt reduces the risk of dying by 45% for people in the front seat of passenger cars. For those in pickups, seat belts reduce the risk of dying by 60%. Your seat belt is designed to keep you from being thrown into the dashboard or windshield—or even onto the road. An airbag can be a big lifesaver. But without a seat belt, it can be ineffective and even dangerous. In a crash, a seat belt ensures you’re not thrown into a fast-opening airbag—a force that could injure or kill you. You may think your airbag is going to protect you, but it’s designed to work with seat belts, not to replace them.
In Texas, the law requires everyone in a vehicle to buckle up or face fines and court costs up to $200. Children younger than eight years must be in a child safety seat or booster seat unless they’re taller than four feet nine inches. If they aren’t properly restrained, the driver faces fines up to $250, plus court costs.