CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The Texas Department of Transportation wants to remind drivers about an important safety measure on the road.
Friday, TxDOT went to the Peoples Street T-Head in Arad Urban Park to promote the Click It or Ticket campaign. The initiative, which has been running for 20 years, is meant to highlight seat belt awareness and enforcement.
According to TxDOT, in 2021 there were 3,507 vehicle crashes in Texas, in which unbuckled motorists sustained fatal or serious injuries, a 14 percent increase from the previous year. Wearing a seat belt reduces the risk of dying in a crash by 45 percent for people in the front seat of passenger cars. For those in pickup trucks, seat belts reduce that risk by 60 percent.
The Corpus Christi Police Department was at the event today, along with representatives from Driscoll Children's Hospital. They spoke on why it is important for the whole family to buckle up.
"Car crashes are the second leading cause of death of all ages, and the leading cause of death of children ages three and up," Injury Prevention Training Coordinator at Driscoll Children's Hospital, Karen Beard said. "So this is something that is so preventable that we just want to make sure all parents have resources."
Driscoll Children's Hospital has a grant with TxDOT and the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration that provides funds to purchase car seats for families in need in the Coastal Bend. According to Karen Beard, if anyone calls the hospital and asks for car seat services, her department can inspect people's car seats and educate parents about proper car seat installation.
"It's actually important all year round that we constantly use our seat belts," Corpus Christi Police Captain, Timothy Frazier said. "I can't tell you how many fatal or serious injury crashes that I've been to, where had somebody — that person — been wearing their seat belt, they would have probably still been alive today."
Since its launch in 2002, the Click It or Ticket campaign is estimated to have saved 6,972 lives, prevented 120,000 serious injuries and saved $26.3 billion in related economic costs. From May 23 through June 5, Texas officers and deputies will step up enforcement of the state's seat belt and child car seat laws.