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TxDOT kicks off 10th annual 'Click It or Ticket' campaign

By Gheni_Platenburg
May 26, 2011 at 12:26 a.m.

The Texas Department of Transportation is kicking off its 10th annual "Click It or Ticket" seat belt awareness campaign just in time for Memorial Day weekend.

The campaign, which runs May 23 through June 5, seeks to reduce the number of traffic fatalities as result of drivers and passengers not wearing their seatbelts or not properly buckling up their children.

This year, state officials have set a goal of raising the state's seatbelt usage rate to 94 percent, up from 93.84 percent in 2010 - the highest seatbelt usage rate ever.

Texas law requires children under the age of eight and under 4 feet 9 inches tall to be secured in an approved child safety seat or booster seat.

Additionally, all passengers, both in the front seat and back seat, must be wearing a seatbelt.

The fine for no-compliance is $25 to $250 plus court costs.

While the Goliad Sheriff's Office said they do plan on putting out extra patrols during the campaign, both the Victoria County Sheriff's Office and the Victoria Police Department said they will not be putting extra bodies on the street.

"We as an agency will continue to operate as usual, taking enforcement action for seatbelts and everything else we observe in the course of duty, during this upcoming period," said Victoria Traffic Safety Team Sgt. Julian Huerta.

As of Thursday evening, it was not known whether the Goliad Sheriff's Department would be setting up any checkpoints during the campaign period.

The program has yielded successful results since its inception.

In the decade since the campaign began in the Lone Star State, the percentage of Texans buckling up has gone from 76.1 percent in 2002 to 93.8 percent today, according to the Texas Transportation Institute.

This increase in seatbelt usage, has resulted in 2,843 fewer traffic fatalities, 48,000 fewer serious injuries and a savings to the state of more than $10 billion in associated costs, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Despite an overall downward trend in fatalities between 2003 and 2009, traffic crashes remain the leading cause of death for those between one and 44 years of age in Texas.



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