Click It or Ticket campaign kicks off in Victoria

  • FAST FACTS

  • • Least likely to buckle up: teens, passengers, pickup occupants and motorists in medium-sized cities and rural areas

    • Only 82 percent of passengers in pickups use seat belts

    • Wearing a seat belt reduces the risk of being injured in a ...

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  • FAST FACTS

    • Least likely to buckle up: teens, passengers, pickup occupants and motorists in medium-sized cities and rural areas

    • Only 82 percent of passengers in pickups use seat belts

    • Wearing a seat belt reduces the risk of being injured in a serious crash by 45 percent

    • In pickups, seat belts reduce the risk of injury by 60 percent because pickups are twice as likely to roll over as passenger vehicles.

    Source: Texas Department of Transportation

Through June 2, Victoria's law enforcement is ramping up for Click It or Ticket, the statewide seat belt campaign sponsored by Texas Department of Transportation.

Tickets for seat belt violations cost $200 apiece, said Sheriff T. Michael O'Connor at a news conference hosted by the Texas Department of Transportation on Tuesday morning.

He said the campaign is something his deputies believe in.

"It's for all our own good," he said. "There's no excuse to not wear that seat belt."

Last year, more than 21,200 seat belt citations were issued during the Click It or Ticket campaign, according to information from the state agency.

Furthermore, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates the campaign has saved nearly 3,700 lives and prevented more than 50,000 serious injures since its launch 12 years ago.

Transportation department District Engineer Paul Frerich said it all started with President Lyndon B. Johnson.

Johnson signed the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act and the Highway Safety Act into law 45 years ago, and the results have been staggering, Frerich said.

Between 1966 and 2000, motor vehicle death rates fell by 72 percent, and almost 200,000 lives were saved between 1975 and 2004 because of seat belts, he said.

However, fatalities increased over 2011.

In 2012, Texas saw 5,062 car crashes in which unrestrained occupants were killed or were seriously injured, he said.

According to information from the state agency, seat belt usage has saved an estimated $10 billion in wages and productivity losses, medial expenses, insurance premiums, taxes and other costs.

"It's important that everyone remember to buckle up their seat belts anytime they step into a vehicle," Frerich said. "It can save your life, and in Texas, it's the law."