AUSTIN — Statewide seat belt use continues to increase, reaching nearly 92 percent for 2017, yet 929 unbuckled Texans still died in traffic crashes last year. TxDOT’s “Click It or Ticket” campaign reminds drivers and passengers that wearing a seat belt is the single most effective step they can take to protect themselves in a crash. Wearing a seat belt reduces the risk of dying in a crash by 45 percent. That number jumps to 60 percent for pickup trucks.


While daytime seat belt usage continues to increase, nighttime use remains lower, leading to a higher rate of fatalities. Last year, the Texas A&M Transportation Institute found the number of drivers and front seat passengers observed in 18 cities not wearing seat belts increased by almost 50 percent from day to night. In 2017, 57 percent of all crashes where occupants died and weren’t wearing a seat belt happened at night (between 6 p.m. and 5:59 a.m.).


Texas law requires everyone in a vehicle to be properly buckled up or face fines and court costs up to $200. Children younger than 8 must be in a child safety seat or booster seat unless they’re taller than 4 feet 9 inches. If they aren’t properly restrained, the driver faces fines of up to $250, plus court costs.


As part of the “Click It or Ticket” campaign, Texas law enforcement officers will step up their enforcement of the state’s seat belt laws from May 21 to June 3, including the Memorial Day weekend.


According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the “Click It or Ticket” initiative in Texas is estimated to have saved 5,473 lives, prevented more than 95,500 serious injuries and saved more than $20.7 billion in related economic costs from 2002 through 2017.


To learn more about “Click It or Ticket,” visit texasclickitorticket.com .