TxDOT's Click It or Ticket campaign started today (05.24.21) and Wichita Falls area is far behind the rest of the state in seat belt use.

According to the Texas Department of Transportation this is the 19th year for the Click It or Ticket campaign urging Texans to buckle up. When the campaign launched in 2002 only about 76% of drivers buckled their safety belts, today that number is up to almost 91% statewide.

Our district, which includes Wichita, Archer, Baylor, Clay, Cooke, Montague, Throckmorton, Wilbarger, and Young counties, is not keeping up with the rest of the state.

In 2020, there were 41 traffic crash fatalities in the Wichita Falls District. 19 of those 41 deaths were people who had not buckled in. 9 of those 19 were killed because they were literally ejected from their vehicle.

In Wichita Falls alone two of the five fatality wrecks recorded in 2020 involved unbuckled travelers.

This region's 46% of unbuckled victims is far greater than the statewide average of 24%. In 2019 a full 49% of the traffic fatality victims in our region were not wearing seat belts. Come on, Wichita Falls District, we can do better than that. It's not that complicated. I know, you (and I) hate being told what to do, but this would be common sense if it wasn't actually a law.

Statewide the number of unbuckled motorist deaths rose 16% during the pandemic even with fewer traffic crashes recorded. The last time Texas recorded zero traffic deaths in one day was November 7th, 2000.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates since its inception 19 years ago, Click It or Ticket has saved 6,234 lives, prevented more than 100,000 serious injuries and saved Texas more than $23.6 billion in related economic costs.

The annual TxDOT Click It or Ticket campaign is designed to remind everyone of the safety benefits of wearing seat belts. During the campaign law enforcement officers will step up their enforcement for both drivers and passengers. The campaign centers around the Memorial Day weekend because it's always a big travel weekend with many more drivers on the road. More drivers means more opportunities for accidents.

MementoImage / ThinkStock

You know what to do, Wichita Falls. Reach over your shoulder and click that safety belt into place. You won't get a ticket, your car's seat belt reminder will stop chiming, and you might just save your own life.

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