I know that as you drive around any part of Texas, especially the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex, you are bound to pass one of those large, familiar billboards with the catchy slogan "Click It or Ticket." Last week, the Texas Department of Public Safety kicked off their annual seat belt enforcement campaign by putting local law enforcement and DPS officers out if force to make sure that everyone in Texas is buckling up in their motor vehicles.

The Texas DPS has reported that since its first "Click it or Ticket" campaign in 2002, they have seen an 18% increase in seat belt usage, from 76% to 94%. Many Texans may wonder why the state DPS is so adamant about set belt usage, so here are the top 5 reasons Texans should always buckle up: 
  1. Wearing a seat belt is the most effective thing a driver can do to protect themselves in the event of an accident.  In a four year span from 2004 to 2008, 75,000 lives were saved due to seat belts. This is enough people to fill almost all NFL arenas. Wearing a seat belt during a car crash causes you to remain inside of your vehicle, whereas failing to buckle can cause you to be thrown from the car, which is almost always deadly.
  2. Airbags are not designed to replace seat belts, they are designed to work in conjunction with them. In many instances, if you are not wearing a seat belt, the force of a deploying airbag, combined with the momentum of a human body in a crash, could greatly injure or even kill most drivers.
  3. Not wearing a seat belt could cost you money. Every one knows about the expensive tickets that drivers in Texas can get for not buckling up, but in many instances, traffic crash victims that were not buckled pay more in medical bills. In fact, "Average inpatient costs for traffic crash victims who did not use seat belts were 50% higher than for victims who were belted."
  4. Your child's life depends on it! Up to 80% of all children fatalities in motor vehicle accidents could be prevented by making sure that the child is securely fastened. In fact, 60% of children who died in a car or truck accident were not buckled.
  5. It is your duty as an American to wear your seat belt. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than 132,000 injuries and 5,000 deaths could be prevented annually if only 90% of Americans buckled up. The cost of not buckling up goes beyond just what we pay if we personally are injured in a car crash. Drivers everywhere pays in higher taxes, health care and insurance costs for those that fail to wear their seat belts. Every American pays around $600 a year toward the cost of crashes. This figure would drop significantly if only everyone would buckle up.

So, wearing your safety belt is way more important than trying to avoid a ticket during the annual "Click it or Ticket" campaign. As you drive around in big cities such as Dallas, Fort Worth, or ever suburbs like Grapevine or Southlake, it is important that you "Click it" not only for your safety, but for the good of every other driver around you.
David Hart
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Helping victims throughout Fort Worth, Arlington, North Richland, Grapevine, Bedford, Hurst and points between