AUSTIN, Texas - Starting Monday, state troopers, police officers, and sheriffs’ deputies across Texas are stepping up enforcement of the state’s seat belt and child car seat laws.
James Bass, executive director of TxDOT, says that safety is the number one priority. "The number one reason you should buckle up, is because it can save your life," he said.
In 2019, there were 925 traffic deaths from someone not wearing their seatbelt. Bass said that while most Texans, almost 91%, do wear their seatbelts, there is still work to be done.
"We think Texans can do better and we’re working to raise that percentage even higher," he said.
DPS said they have a zero-tolerance policy for not buckling up. "Simply put: It’s click it or ticket - front seat or back seat, day or night," said Sgt. Stephanie Davis. "Anytime you are in a vehicle in Texas, you must be secured by a seatbelt."
Texas law requires everyone in a vehicle to be properly secured in the front or back seat or face fines and fees up to $200. Children younger than 8 years must be restrained in a child safety seat or booster seat unless they are taller than 4 feet 9 inches. If a child isn’t secured, the driver faces fines of up to $250.
Wearing a seat belt reduces the risk of dying by 45% for people in the front seat of passenger cars. For those in pickups, seat belts reduce the risk of dying by 60% since pickups are more likely to roll over than passenger vehicles.
From November 16th through the 29th, law enforcement will be out patrolling, not only to crack down on the issue but to help save lives, saying there is no excuse to not be wearing one.
"The risk is too great," said SGT. Davis. "I think you have to think about yourself, the risk to yourself, and the risk to your passengers."