The Texas Department of Transportation has a message for drivers of and passengers in pickup trucks: “Fasten your seat belts or run a better than 50-50 chance of dying in an accident.”
Well, that’s paraphrasing a bit. The exact quote is, “Buckle up in your truck,” and it’s a summer-long promotional campaign designed to get people inside pickup cabs to, what, “Click it or ticket?”
According to TxDOT stats, though, it’s more like “Click it or die,” because pickups tend to roll over during crashes and sling drivers and passengers out the windows. Using a seat belt reduces the chance of fatalities among pickup drivers by about 60 percent.
The TxDOT campaign aims to change the perception that a) you’re safe in a larger vehicle — well, no, see “roll over” reference above, and b) you’re pretty much immune to the physical dangers of a crash because you’re “younger and male” — again, no, because young necks snap just as readily as older necks.
Besides, there’s the little matter of $250 or more in the citation and court costs associated with a ticket, so humor the nice officer and wear the seat belt.
Bruce Felps owns and operates East Dallas Times, an online community news outlet serving the White Rock Lake area. He drives a convertible and this week has a perpetual sweat-stripe running diagonally across his shirt.