“Click It or Ticket” campaign targets motorists least likely to wear seat belts and aims to reduce fatalities
AUSTIN – To launch its annual Click It or Ticket campaign and
drive home that failure to wear a seat belt cost nearly 1,000 Texans
their lives last year, the Texas Department of Transportation is
unveiling “Kailee’s Crash,” a jarring sculpture that captures a car in
mid-air just prior to impact in which a young woman lost her life.
Sixteen-year-old Kailee Mills removed her seat belt for just a moment
to take a “selfie” photo with a friend in the back seat. In that
moment, the driver lost control of the vehicle and Kailee was thrown to
her death. Her friends, who were buckled up, sustained only minor
David and Wendy Mills, Kailee’s parents, are traveling the state with
the reenactment sculpture to urge Texans to buckle up. “We are sharing
Kailee’s story in hopes that we can convince drivers and passengers of
all ages to always wear their seat belts. We don’t want any other family
to go through the pain and grief of losing a loved one like we have,”
said David, who lives in Spring, Texas. “Kailee always wore her seat
belt, but she unbuckled it for just a few seconds to take a selfie with
friends, and in an instant she was gone.”
“We can’t emphasize enough that wearing a seat belt is the single
most effective way to protect yourself and your loved ones from serious
injury or death in a crash,” said TxDOT Executive Director James Bass.
“Many of these deaths and injuries are preventable; it’s really a shame
that 8.5% of Texans are still not buckling up. It’s even more tragic to
note that of those with an option to wear a seat belt this group made up
43% of crash fatalities in 2018.”
Last year, 982 people who were not buckled up died in crashes on
Texas streets and highways, an increase of 6% from 2017. Seat belts
prevent drivers and passengers from being ejected from a vehicle, which
is almost always deadly. Wearing a seat belt reduces the risk of dying
in a crash by 45%. That number jumps to 60% for pickup truck crashes.
Despite these facts, seat belt use among pickup truck drivers and
passengers continues to lag behind that of passenger vehicles. There are
also fewer Texans buckling up at night (6 p.m. - 5:59 a.m.), even
though that’s when nearly 60% of fatal crashes occur.
If safety alone isn’t enough of an incentive to always buckle up,
TxDOT also announced that law enforcement statewide will increase
enforcement of the state’s seat belt laws between May 20 and June 2.
Texas law requires everyone in a vehicle to be properly buckled up or
face fines and fees up to $200. Children younger than eight must be
restrained in a child safety seat or booster seat, unless they are
taller than 4 feet 9 inches. If they are not properly restrained, the
driver faces fines of up to $250.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the
Click It or Ticket initiative in Texas is estimated to have saved 5,856
lives, prevented more than 100,000 serious injuries and saved more than
$21.7 billion in related economic costs from 2002 through 2018.
The Click It or Ticket campaign is a key component of
#EndTheStreakTX, a broader social media and word-of-mouth effort that
encourages drivers to make safer choices while behind the wheel. Since
November 8, 2000, at least one person has died on Texas roadways every
single day. #EndTheStreakTX asks all Texans to commit to driving safely
to help end the streak of daily deaths on our roadways.
To learn more about Click It or Ticket, visit texasclickitorticket.com.