By Samantha Corpus
Police departments in Texas always want to remind everyone to save a life – and to save money – by buckling up everyone in a vehicle. But through June 4, all local police departments will be stepping up enforcement of seat belt law so drivers need to remember to click it, or get a ticket of up to $250 plus court costs.
The Texas Department of Transportation “Click It or Ticket” campaign kicked off its 15th anniversary May 22 near the steps of College View High School on George Bush Drive in College Station. Local law enforcement from the Bryan, College Station, and the University Police departments joined representatives from the Texas AgriLife Brazos Valley Injury Prevention Coalition to share a safety message for students and the public.
The “Click It or Ticket” campaign is a national public education program that strives to save lives by encouraging people to buckle up. The campaign aims to reduce the number of fatalities, serious injuries, and deaths resulting from not wearing a safety belt or not wearing it properly. In Texas, the law requires drivers and passengers to wear their seat belts at all times in a vehicle. Children under the age of 8 must be in a child safety seat or booster seat until they are taller than 4 feet 9 inches tall.
“When TxDOT ‘Click It or Ticket’ campaign was launched in 2002, only 76 percent Texans used their seat belts,” says Terri Miller, traffic safety specialist from the Texas Department of Transportation Bryan District. “Today, nearly 92 percent buckle up, but 8 percent still don’t, and the number of people who don’t buckle up doubles to 16 percent at night.”
The event was to highlight that officers will be extra vigilant for the next 10 days. If drivers or passengers are not properly restrained, the person at fault will face fines up to $250 plus court costs. If a child is found not properly restrained, then the driver will receive the ticket and fines.
“Officers don’t necessarily enjoy writing tickets, but the enforcements are necessary to show people the importance of wearing a seat belt or making sure their children are restrained properly,” says Officer Austin Stearns from the Bryan Police Department. “We don’t want you or your child to become a negative statistic.”
A wrecked 2005 Ford F-250 truck was present at the event as an example of what could happen to even a large vehicle during a crash. The truck was also proof that seat belts do save lives.
“In 2009, two teens, Ethan and Trey, were involved in a serious crash while driving the Ford F-250 on their way to a livestock show,” says Cindy Kovar, program manager for the BVIPC and Texas A&M University AgriLife Extension Service. “The truck hit a culvert and rolled over multiple times. Thanks to the airbags and more importantly because they chose to wear their seatbelts, the two escaped their crumbled-up, wrecked truck with minor injuries.”
B/CS and University Police departments encourage everyone to buckle up before a vehicle is put in motion. “Even one life lost for something as simple as not putting on a seat belt, is one life too many,” says Stearns.
About College View High School
College View High School is the newest high school in the College Station Independent School District. Students must go through an application and interview process before being admitted. The school’s capacity is 200 to 250 students, which makes classes small by design. CVHS offers creative and innovative instructional practices with hands-on learning, 40 hours of academic dual-credit through Blinn College, and practical lessons on how to change a tire, sew on a button, create a realistic budget, and apply for colleges and housing. CVHS also has a state-of-the-art art studio for students who are aspiring artists. All interested ninth, 10th, and 11th graders are urged to visit their website at cvhs.csisd.org to find and submit an application.