Drivers and passengers who aren’t buckled up should expect to meet Texas law enforcement officers on the side of the road from May 19 through June 1, when hundreds of police agencies across the state participate in the “Click It or Ticket” enforcement mobilization.

“We’re reminding all drivers, but especially pickup truck drivers, to buckle up and make sure their passengers are buckled up,” said Col. Thomas A. Davis, Jr., director of the Texas Department of Public Safety.  “Drivers think they are safer in pickups and other high-profile vehicles; but in reality, pickups roll over twice as often as passenger
cars in fatal crashes.”

Wearing a safety belt will reduce the risk of dying in a rollover pickup truck crash by up to 80 percent.

Texas law requires every person sitting in the front seat of a vehicle to wear a safety belt. The law also states that all children under 17 must be secured with a safety belt, or in a child safety seat, whether they are sitting in the front or in the back seat. A child less than five years old and less than 36 inches tall must be secured in a child safety seat. Drivers can be stopped and ticketed for a safety belt violation if they, or any of their passengers under the age of 17, are not buckled up or properly restrained. Traffic fines for failing to use a seat belt or secure a child in a safety seat can run from $25 to
$200, plus court costs.

Safety belt use in Texas continues to rise. In 2006, safety belt use was at 90.4 percent; and in 2007, use was at 91.8 percent. The goal for 2008 is to increase the safety belt usage rate to 92.5 percent.

“Our true goal for safety belt use is 100 percent of all drivers and passengers, 100 percent of the time,” Col. Davis said. “Wearing a safety belt is the cheapest form of insurance, so there’s no excuse to not buckle up.”

The Texas Department of Public Safety has had a zero-tolerance policy regarding seat belts and child safety seats since 1999. Drivers who are pulled over for seat belt and child safety seat violations by troopers always receive tickets for those violations.