The Texas Department of Transportation is launching its "Click it or Ticket" seatbelt education and enforcement campaign with an event at the Fort Worth Stockyards on Monday.
The event took place from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at 701 East Exchange Avenue on Fort Worth.
During the event, TxDOT unveiled a 17-foot-tall "Click It or Ticket" message board to remind Dallas-Fort Worth motorists to buckle up.
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According to TxDOT, there were 569 motor vehicle traffic crashes in the Dallas-Fort Worth area in which unrestrained occupants sustained fatal or serious injuries during 2020.
These crashes resulted in 198 fatalities and 445 serious injuries, TxDOT said.
TxDOT said putting on a seat belt reduces the risk of dying by up to 45% for people in the front seat of passenger cars and up to 60% for people in pickup trucks.
According to TxDOT, wearing a seat belt could have saved more than 2,700 people from death or serious injury in crashes on Texas roads.
Even during a pandemic and with fewer traffic crashes in Texas overall, the number of deaths of unbuckled motorists still rose by 16% last year as compared to 2019, TxDOT said.
TxDOT also said that people driving at night wear their seat belt less often, even though it's a more dangerous time to drive. In 2020, 59% of all crashes in which unbuckled drivers or passengers died occurred at night.
TxDOT's annual Click It or Ticket campaign reminds Texans of the safety benefits of wearing a seat belt. Texas law enforcement officers will step up their efforts from May 24 to June 6 to ticket unbelted drivers and passengers.
Texas law requires that everyone in a vehicle to be properly secured in the front or back seat. Failure to do so could result in fines and fees up to $200.
Children younger than 8 years old must be restrained in a child safety seat or booster seat unless they are taller than 4'9" inches. If a child isn't secured, the driver faces fines of up to $250, TxDOT said.